Message: In 2 Corinthians 2 Paul was talking about a painful letter he
wrote and painful visit he had with the church at Corinth. He spoke out of
grief from the turmoil and it seemed he wanted a break from it and wanted to experience
joy between himself and the church again. The footnotes in my bible speculate
about which painful topics Paul is referring to but as I recall my reading and
writing through each chapter of 1 Corinthians it seemed like every day we were
reading and talking about things Paul was calling them out on. He spoke a lot
about their immaturity, their choosing of sides and their pride in not judging
a man who was part of their church while openly living in incest. If they were
in fact immature and caught up in superficial things they probably were deeply
offended by Paul’s letter and they may have had a strained relationship with
Paul. In chapter 2 of 2 Corinthians Paul was expressing his anguish of writing
these things to them. He told them he was in tears and wanted to share joy and encouragement
with them again. This wasn’t out of regret. It was out of a desire for
restoration. Any parent who has ever had to discipline a child understands how
it feels to correct your child who desperately needs the correction and wait for
them to come around to the understanding that you care. Depending on the age,
the severity of the violation and the state of the child’s maturity this coming
around process could take minutes, hours, days, months or years. Many of us
have also had these kind of moments with adult friends or family. Where we
probably don’t have authority over another adult, we have definitely had to
have some hard conversations that may have taken time to heal. We have probably
been on the receiving end as well.
Command: Relationship is absolutely necessary in
Promise: If we correct with love and humility we will
help people grow, and if we receive correction with love and humility we ourselves
Warning: If love is not the motive behind our
correction, we will not help anyone and we will be a stumbling block instead.
If we don’t humble ourselves when we are being corrected, we will not grow.
Application: What I took from this is the importance of having hard
conversations, but doing it with graciousness and a heart to restore. We’re
seeing some difficult times in our country right now and while many people are
just voicing opinions, many others are having difficult conversations. If my
approach is to shut someone else down, I will not reach them and will probably
damage the legitimacy of my point. If my intent is to learn and to provoke
others to a better way my speech has to be in the attitude of restoration. You
can’t tear someone down as an approach to get them to change their minds. It
has to be done with a spirit of empowerment. On the contrary, we also have to
be willing to hear another view and consider it without immediately discarding
what we don’t feel aligned with. Paul was in a position of authority with the
church. He was teaching them the truth of the gospel but we are all learning
together. The most important part of learning is in relationship. This is what
Paul was trying to restore with the church in order to continue in their growth.
This is what we need to pursue hard after in our growth process. We do this in relationship.
If we correct with love and humility we will help people grow, and if we
receive correction with love and humility we ourselves will grow.