Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2 Corinthians 1:23-2:11

23 I call God as my witness—and I stake my life on it—that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.
1 So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. 2 For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? 3 I wrote as I did, so that when I came I would not be distressed by those who should have made me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. 4 For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.

5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9 Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Questions to consider:
  • What reasons does Paul give for not visiting the Corinthian church as he had formerly planned?
  • What principles of church discipline and forgiveness does Paul teach through the incident described in this passage?
  • What kind of conduct is expected of you in relation to the church?

Possibilities for prayer:

Paul’s call to forgiveness and comfort for those who have offended is a definite challenge. And he goes a step further in suggesting that we reaffirm our love for the offender. I don’t know about you--but when someone has hurt me, the last thing on my mind is reassuring them that I still love them! And yet, as followers of Jesus, these are the kind of life decisions we are called to make. Today, let’s ask to make us the kind of people who affirm our love for those who wrong us, instead of trying to make them pay for our wounds. And let’s ask God to make us a community that forgives readily and easily, and offers comfort not only to the offended party, but to the party who caused the offense in the first place. Ask God to make us a radical community in His image.