(2 Tim 4:16-17) At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
How wonderful to be God’s child and to be a member of the family of God. And as members of the body of Christ we have such rich fellowship (koinonia) in the Lord. Forever will we be together in heaven as the Bride of Christ! Such thoughts are rich and uplifting. But what do you do when you’ve been let down by a Christian who wasn’t there for you in your time of need? Or did you wrong and never said they were sorry? What do you do when you’ve been hurt by a church or a spiritual leader who you expected more of?
These questions are provoking and may even conjure up some hurt that might not be too far from the surface. But let’s not gloss over it with “Christian” sentiment and pretend the pain doesn’t exist. Let’s deal with it so we can move on in our walk because we don’t want anything producing bitterness in our hearts affecting our spiritual growth (Heb 12:15).
Yeah, even Christians can do you wrong. I think when it happens we are caught off guard because we hear so much about loving one another and all. We expect the world to act like the world and be cruel and vengeful. But for a brother or sister in Lord to be that way? Ouch!!
Paul was in a prison cell waiting to go before Caesar. He had done nothing wrong except preach Jesus Christ to a lost world. How Paul needed to be comforted by the ones he served as an apostle. But in Paul’s time of need there was no one to be found to give him the encouragement he so desperately needed. No one stood by him. It was too costly. He had to go it alone.
But was he bitter? Nah . . . he even prayed it wouldn’t be held against them. He knew about human nature. He knew even believers could be selfish and fail in the fellowship department. But his hope wasn’t in his friends. His hope was in the Lord. People, even Christians, will fail you but the Lord never will. The Lord stood by Paul and strengthened him. And through this Paul was able to preach the Word of the Lord and see God’s deliverance from what Satan was intending against him.
Had a bad experience with a brother? Did your church or spiritual leader do you wrong? Don’t get bitter. Of course, man will fail you. Get your eyes on the Lord and keep that bitterness at bay. You don’t want that to affect you walk with the Lord (Eph 4:26-32). Choose love and forgiveness and rejoice in the fact that the Lord is faithful and will never leave you nor forsake you. Stop nursing your wounds and being so protective over yourself. Get back into fellowship with the body of Christ and let’s get on with serving the Lord together with our eyes on the One who will never let us down!