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Monday, November 4, 2013

Caution: Loneliness Can Bring Bitterness

In summary of 2 Timothy 4:16 it says, “The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them.”

Bottom Line:
When you feel alone (everyone abandoning you), minimize the hurt and bitterness.  Don’t count it against others.

What this means to me:
Paul experienced times of real trials.  In this one he tells of how no one comes to his defense or stood by or helped him.  Loneliness is a tough thing and I experience it from time to time. The Bible gives me some good guidelines for what I should do when going through what seems like seasons of loneliness.  These guidelines are illustrated in the life of Paul in 2 Timothy 4, when he was in prison and awaiting his execution.  Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:16, “The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them” (NLT).  Paul, one of the greatest Christian’s, was on trial in Rome, and not one person stepped forward to defend him. Not one! He was absolutely by himself. Nobody stepped forward to say, "This is a good guy. He's alright.” Yet Paul did not say, "Those jerks — after all I've done for them all these years!” Instead, he said, "May it not be counted against them.” In other words, he was not going to let himself become bitter.  The key here is that bitterness can always makes the loneliness worse.  When I face loneliness I can minimize the hurt first by playing it down and then by praying it up. Resist the urge to rehearse it over and over.  If I do, the hurt will only get bigger and bigger and spiral out of control. I need to refuse the urge to become resentful.  Bitterness is something than can eat me up and take control.  Bitterness and loneliness can become a cycle. I become lonely. Then I start feeling bad about it and have a pity party. Then I become bitter. The bitterness makes me even lonelier, which makes me more bitter. Soon, I’m a hardhearted, depressed person that nobody would want to get close to.  In summary, bitterness will only perpetuate my loneliness. Next time a feel a season of loneliness, I need to minimize the hurt and not build a wall around my life.  Take on the characteristic of Paul, who even with people deserting him, still asked and prayed that God would not count it against them.  Pray it up!

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