March 18, 2010

When Others Fail Us 2 TIMOTHY 4:9-14

The apostle Paul knew the value of having good friends. Barnabas encouraged him in his ministry. Silas partnered with him in establishing new churches. Timothy became like a son to him. Paul also knew the heartache of co-laborers turning away from him when times got tough (2 Tim. 1:15). We may experience something similar in our life.

People will react differently to our struggles. Some feel inadequate and hold back because they are uncertain about what to say or do. Others are so protective of their time that selfishness causes them to turn away. And sometimes our friends and co-workers do not want to be identified with us in our trials. In my early days as a pastor, this happened to me when the church was going through a period of turmoil. Only two pastors reached out to me and offered support; the others stood back. This experience taught me the importance of reaching out to people in crisis.

Helping others requires an investment of time and energy. We start by praying for them and asking the Lord how we can help. He may have us lend emotional support, provide spiritual guidance, offer assistance in a physical or financial way, or find others who can. Standing with people will encourage them.

When friends abandoned him, Paul asked God not to count their actions against them. He followed the example of Jesus, who prayed for the Father to forgive His persecutors. What’s your response when friends let you down? Forgiveness is the choice that pleases God every time.

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