Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mercy and compassion for all.

16At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 17But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion's mouth. 18The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen (2 Timothy 4:16-18)
I have often wondered what this situation must have been like for the aging Paul. He was being taken before the magistrates for preaching the gospel of Christ, and he was all alone. He sees it as a desertion of those who had supported him and been alongside him throughout his ministry. Everyone has had times of fear, situations where we did not speak up or stand up for Christ as we know we should have done. I wonder if Paul’s regular companions – Luke, Tychicus, and others fell into that trap and did not stand beside Paul in the bold defense of the gospel? But in spite of that fact we see in Paul an attitude of mercy and compassion toward them. It seems that he knows the weakness that can beset us all, and is eager for the loving and mutual relationships they have shared to continue in spite of their failure to faithfully stand beside him. His attitude reminds me of that of Jesus, as He hung on the cross. It was probably the example of Jesus that inspired Paul to forgive those who deserted him, just as Jesus did for his own apostles.
Sometimes, we need to act with forgiveness even though our closest friends and family desert us in our hour of need. With Jesus and with Paul as our examples, we see what it truly means to love. Loving those who love us back and stand by us, is easy. The difficult task is to practice love in the face of abandonment. With Jesus help, we can do it. Not only that, Jesus will stand by us and see us through our times of trial. So we have really never been abandoned.

Peace and love,


"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. " (1 John 4:9-10)

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