Timothy was a man who Paul loved deeply – he loved him as his son.
When he wrote his second letter to Timothy, Paul knew he was going to die soon.
If you or I were writing someone, knowing that this was the last letter they would receive from us, I doubt if we'd mince words.
We'd tell it like it is.
Here's what Paul wrote his son, Timothy, shortly before Paul's death about how Timothy shold conduct himself.
I think it applies to us today too...
2 Timothy 2
15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval.
Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed
and who correctly explains the word of truth.
16 Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior.
17 This kind of talk spreads like cancer,
as in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus.
18 They have left the path of truth, claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred; in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith.
19 But God's truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription:
"The LORD knows those who are his,"
and "All who belong to the LORD must turn away from evil."
20 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay.
The expensive utensils are used for special occasions,
and the cheap ones are for everyday use.
21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use.
Your life will be clean,
and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.
22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts.
Instead, pursue righteous living,
Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.
23 Again I say, don't get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights.
24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel
but must be kind to everyone,
be able to teach,
and be patient with difficult people.
25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth.
Perhaps God will change those people's hearts,
and they will learn the truth.
26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil's trap.
For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.
“must not quarrel”
“must be kind to everyone”
“be able to teach”
“be patient with difficult people”
Would those be the phrases people in today's world would associate with Christians?
I doubt it.
I think they would come closer to phrases like...
to name a few.
Somewhere along the line in the last few decades, Christians have lost the reputation as “people who love” to “people who ______”
You fill in the blank – people usually wouldn't fill that blank with something positive.
When did our reputation change from “people who love” into “people who ______”?
And why did it change?