for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.
Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.
At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But 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.The 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.
Did you get hurt in 2016? Did anyone let you down? Did anyone leave you? Did something unexpected rob you of happiness and joy? Do you know other people who are hurting? I’m pretty sure most of us can answer one or more of these questions with an unqualified YES.
Life hurts. There’s no way around it. Stuff happens. We get clobbered by circumstances. Hurting is not the rare exception, it’s the new norm. So, what do we do about it?
First, we must identify what has hurt us. Followers of Jesus know that the world itself is our enemy (James 4:4), and that we also have the devil himself on our trail (I Peter 5:8-9). We are also more than capable of self-inflicted wounds.
Most of the time, however, we get hurt by the words and actions of other people. We must also admit that we are guilty of inflicting wounds on others. No one is exempt. People hurt Jesus. They hurt all the prophets and apostles. Yes, including St. Paul.
When Paul was living out his last days in a Roman prison, he had a lot of time to remember. He had some great memories. He also had some painful ones. Paul was a man of great optimistic faith, but this didn’t stop him from recalling some of the “bad people” in his life. Paul forgave people completely, but it’s clear he didn’t always forget.
He knew what it was to be disappointed in people. He knew how it felt to be dealt with treacherously. But he also knew the joy of reconciliation and the loyalty of true friends.
The key with him, as it is with us, was to make sure to invest in the greatest relationship of all—intimacy with God!
Is there someone I need to forgive?
Is there someone I need to ask for forgiveness?
Am I appreciative enough of those who have never let me down?