|2 Timothy 4:9-18
The apostle Paul knew the value of having good friends. Barnabas encouraged him in his ministry, Silas partnered with him in building up churches, and Timothy became like a son to him. But, as we see in today’s passage, Paul also knew the heartache of co-laborers turning away from him when times got tough. We may experience something similar in our life.
Friends may have varied reactions to our struggles. Some hold back because they feel inadequate to help. Others are indifferent to our situation and don’t care enough to get involved. But the most difficult reaction to encounter is a friend turning away from us. In my early days as a pastor, this happened to me. The church was going through a period of turmoil, and only two pastors reached out to support me; the others stood back. This experience taught me the importance of responding in a godly fashion.
When friends abandoned him, Paul asked God not to count their actions against them. He was following the example of Jesus, who prayed for the Father to forgive His persecutors (Luke 23:34). What’s your response when friends let you down? Though it is not always easy, forgiveness is the choice that pleases God every time.
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