2 Corinthians 7:2-16
2 Make room for us in your hearts. We haven’t done anything wrong to anyone. We haven’t caused anyone to sin. We haven’t taken advantage of anyone. 3 I don’t say this to judge you. I have told you before that you have an important place in our hearts. We would live or die with you. 4 I have spoken to you very honestly. I am very proud of you. I am very happy. Even with all our troubles, my joy has no limit. 5 When we came to Macedonia, we weren’t able to rest. We were attacked no matter where we went. We had battles on the outside and fears on the inside. 6 But God comforts those who are sad. He comforted us when Titus came. 7 We were comforted not only when he came but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us how much you longed for me. He told us about your deep sadness and concern for me. That made my joy greater than ever. 8 Even if my letter made you sad, I’m not sorry I sent it. At first I was sorry. I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while. 9 Now I am happy. I’m not happy because you were made sad. I’m happy because your sadness led you to turn away from your sins. You became sad just as God wanted you to. So you were not hurt in any way by us. 10 Godly sadness causes us to turn away from our sins and be saved. And we are certainly not sorry about that! But worldly sadness brings death. 11 Look at what that godly sadness has produced in you. You are working hard to clear yourselves. You are angry and alarmed. You are longing to see me. You are concerned. You are ready to make sure that the right thing is done. In every way you have proved that you are not guilty in that matter. 12 So even though I wrote to you, it wasn’t because of the one who did the wrong. It wasn’t because of the one who was hurt either. Instead, I wrote you so that in the sight of God you could see for yourselves how faithful you are to us. 13 All this encourages us. We were also very glad to see how happy Titus was. You have all renewed his spirit. 14 I had bragged about you to him. And you have not let me down. Everything we said to you was true. In the same way, our bragging about you to Titus has also turned out to be true. 15 His love for you is even greater when he remembers that you all obeyed his teaching. You received him with fear and trembling. 16 I am glad I can have complete faith in you.
It’s not easy being a pastor. Not that I’d know but when I read this passage I feel Paul’s struggle in delivering a tough message to the Corinthian church.
False teachers were challenging the authority of Paul and drawing Christians away from the message of grace. Paul has been highlighting that he has always acted with integrity and love. This is a response to attacks from the false teachers, but Paul goes on to reflect on his joy at the positive response of the Christians, who heeded his rebuke, leading them to repent and convey their concern for Paul, via Titus.
I’d love to respond to godly correction in that way! Listening, praying, repenting. The world’s way is to stick up for yourself, find excuses, to reject correction and become bitter, resentful. It leads to “regret” says The Message version. How true is that! The other alternative is to pray, asking God to reveal his truth, to bring a spirit of repentance, to be honest with yourself. Then we can “experience divine grace” (NIV Study Bible v 10). There is nothing easy about receiving godly correction, but the distress produced “drives us to God…it turns us around” (The Message v 10). It leads to LIFE! (v10)
Dear Lord Jesus, you draw me to a place of repentance, often by a rough difficult path, one I would probably rather avoid. I know you love me and you are leading me to life. Like the Corinthians, please drive me back in the way of salvation.” Amen
Written by Claire Moore