Don't Let Your Loneliness Lead to Bitterness
“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).
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 followers of Jesus ever, 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 didn’t 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.
This is just one of the ways Paul teaches us how to live when we are going through a season of loneliness. 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 constantly angry.
Bitterness will only perpetuate your loneliness. That’s why, when you go through a season of loneliness, you should minimize the hurt. Don’t build a wall around your life.
Talk It Over
What is your natural reaction to loneliness?
What people in your life can you reach out to when you are lonely?
When you feel like replaying the events or circumstances that led to your loneliness, what might you do instead?
This devotional © 2019 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.