Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. Guard the good Deposit given through the Holy Spirit indwelling in us. This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. May the Lord give mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chain. But when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently and found me. May the Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day. And in what things he ministered to me at Ephesus, you know very well. (2 Timothy 1:13-18 MKJV)
Indeed, this must have been one of the darkest times of Paul’s life. He was in chains for preaching the gospel. And when those whom he knew and labored for in Asia should have remained by his side, they shamelessly turned away from him. Paul put his life on the line for these people, and they wouldn’t even give him support when he needed it most. Nevertheless, Onesiphorus sought him out “very diligently.” This man must have been a breath of fresh air to Paul. If only we would be as committed to encouraging one another in Christ, we would experience the love and compassion of God in mighty ways among His people.
Don’t be surprised when people turn away from you for taking a strong stand for Jesus. Even people who claim to be Christians will do that at times. Of course, it’s all a part of Satan’s plot to try to get you to give up on God. For these people are under his influence, and he effectively uses them to cause division in the church. He will even cause family members to turn against each other. Thus, his method of attack is to divide and conquer.
Satan wants you to believe you’ve done something wrong for calling sin by its rightful name, so that you will compromise your faith in order to please people who are living an immoral life. Don’t fall into this manipulative snare. If the works you’re doing which have caused people to turn away from you are righteous, then you have nothing to be ashamed of. You need to keep doing what you’re doing. The people who are shunning you are filled with darkness, and can’t bear the light, because they don’t know Jesus. Sure, they may go to church, read the Bible from time to time, and pray to God, but they don’t have a relationship with Jesus. If they did, they wouldn’t treat you with such disdain for walking with Him.
How people respond to us is not as important as living in complete conformity to the Word of God. Those who reject you because you’re following Jesus’ example are the ones who ought to be ashamed. They don’t want the truth as it is in Jesus, but a cheap gospel with a shallow message. Don’t give them what they want; instead, be faithful to Christ. Those who are truly your brothers and sisters in the faith will support you (see John 4:23); you will know them by their fruits.
Always remember that Jesus is with you. In Him, you will find all the strength you need to carry out the will of God. Keep walking with Jesus.