by Rick Warren
“The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them.” (2 Timothy 4:16 NLT)
The Bible gives us some guidelines for what we should do when we are going through a season of loneliness. They 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, the greatest Christian next to Jesus, 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. Because bitterness always makes loneliness worse.
When you feel lonely, you need to minimize your hurt. You need to play it down and pray it up. Don’t rehearse it over and over in your mind. If you do, it just gets bigger and bigger and out of control. Refuse to become resentful, because bitterness will eat you up.
Bitterness and loneliness go together because they become a cycle. You become lonely. Then you start feeling bad about it and have a pity party. Then you become bitter. Your bitterness makes you even lonelier, which makes you more bitter. Soon, you’re a hardhearted, depressed person that nobody can get close to.
Nobody wants to be around a bitter person. Nobody wants to be around a cynic. Nobody wants to be around a person who is angry.
Your bitterness will only perpetuate your loneliness. That’s why, when you go through a season of loneliness, you have to minimize the hurt. Don’t build a wall around your life.