As Paul concluded his second letter to Timothy, he expressed some hurt. Demas had forsaken him. Alexander the coppersmith had caused him much harm. At one point, no one was willing to stand with Paul. Rejection, criticism, and abandonment hurt! The world is watching believers to see how we’re going to handle it all.
Most of us handle hurt in one of two ways: we ignore or hide it so that nobody sees, or we handle it in all the wrong ways. Paul demonstrates some appropriate responses to hurt…
1. Stay positive. Paul had been through some rough stuff, but he was looking forward to Timothy’s coming, to seeing John Mark again, and to receiving the parchments. There’s always a brighter day coming for the believer.
2. Forgive. When Stephen was stoned to death for his faith in Christ, he asked God’s forgiveness upon his persecutors, who were laying their garments at the feet of Paul, who in turn prays the same for those who had forsaken him.
3. Cling to God’s Word. Paul was looking forward to getting his books, but he couldn’t wait for the parchments – the Scriptures. The Bible speaks to all of our hurts.
4. Trust God for victory. Paul repeatedly reminds us throughout the New Testament that Jesus always gives us the victory. That may be hard to believe, but it’s absolutely true.
The world is watching. We’re being tested for authenticity. Are you real? Do you hurt? And do you handle it in a way the world around you needs to see?