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(Part 26)


October 18, 2011
Today’s reading: 2 Timothy 4:9-17

When you serve the Lord, you can expect to be attacked by the enemy. But what most do not expect is that they would also be attacked by those who profess to serve Christ, and even more unlikely, by those who are in the same group or community (who then become the enemy within).

This is the case with dissident theologians and clerics who openly challenge established Church teaching and the Magisterium, with feminist nuns who have kicked the habit (pun intended) and become liberal and secular, with Catholic politicians who claim to be devout Catholics while supporting reproduction health, divorce and same-sex marriage.

Paul had his share of such supposed-to-be co-workers.

  • Demas, who deserted him, after being enamored by the present world (2 Tim 4:9).
  • Alexander the coppersmith, who did him a great deal of harm (2 Tim 4:14a).
  • Others, including Phygelus and Hermogenes (2 Tim 1:15), who deserted him at his first defense (2 Tim 1:16) as a prisoner in Rome.

So one lesson for servant leaders is that they can expect to be betrayed, deserted and harmed, even by those whom they consider to be brethren.

It also happened to us in CFC.

  • We, CFC and the cause of Christ were betrayed by those top leaders who veered away, disobeyed the bishops, and continue to deceive their members about the true circumstances of the 2007 crisis and split.
  • These top leaders even now cause harm to our work, by continuing to spread lies, maligning us with Church authorities, and filing unbibilical and scandalous court cases.
  • They have effectively abandoned Christian principles and actions in favor of legalistic, corporate and secular acts, showing one’s being enamored with the ways of the present world.

What should be our response? Well, we do not respond in kind. We forgive. We take the unjust blows, rejoicing in the privilege of suffering for the cause of Christ. We endure. We leave it up to the Lord to repay them according to their deeds (2 Tim 4:16b). We continue on with our work.

But then, we also need to be on guard against them, especially as they reject the hand of friendship we extend, oppose our work, and resist our preaching of what constitutes authentic Christian values (2 Tim 4:15). We protect our work, while proactively seeking dialogue and reconciliation with them. Further, we hope for their transformation of heart, so that we can all look to working together once again, as Mark got back into the good graces of Paul (2 Tim 4:11b).

Finally, we look to God for His strength. We know that God will stand by us as we do what is right and just and true, and will, as He promises through our theme for 2011, give us the fullness of His strength (2 Tim 4:17a). We know that God protects us and His work through us, and will rescue us from the lion’s mouth (2 Tim 4:17c).

We simply go on with what God has given us to do, “so that through (us) the proclamation (of the gospel) might be completed and all the (world) might hear it.” (2 Tim 4:17b).

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