Heavenly Father, your clocks keep perfect time. Forgive me for my impatience with you and help me to keep in step with the Spirit.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 7:3-16
3 I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. 4 I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.
5 For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.
8 Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— 9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. 12 So even though I wrote to you, it was neither on account of the one who did the wrong nor on account of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. 13 By all this we are encouraged.
In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you. 14 I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me. But just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting about you to Titus has proved to be true as well. 15 And his affection for you is all the greater when he remembers that you were all obedient, receiving him with fear and trembling. 16 I am glad I can have complete confidence in you.
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‘If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.’1
Now Paul is back on track, reconciling fully with the Corinthians. We have more details of his anxiety on account of the rupture and of his profound relief once he had met Titus and learned that his hurtful letter (v 8) had yielded dividends (vs 6,7). It is interesting that sometimes when there has been a falling out and then a reconciliation, the renewed relationship can be on a deeper level. There is evidence of that here. Sadly it is not always the case.
There is still some business to clear up. Paul regretted having hurt his friends, but at the same time he didn’t (vs 8–10). We don’t like to hurt people, or to be hurt by them, but sometimes difficult things have to be done and said, even if it would be easier not to. Paul comes up with a new term here: ‘godly sorrow’ (see v 10). There is a difference between remorse and repentance. We might regret doing a wrong thing because we were found out and don’t like the consequences – but we would do it again if we could get away with it. Or we might genuinely feel that we fell short of being our best selves, we failed God and each other, and set ourselves to change. This is godly sorrow because it wants ‘to see justice done’ (v 11), to resolve things. How much better we feel when we have done so!
When relationships are tangled, sometimes we need someone to help us, to go where we cannot, to act as a mediator. Tribute should be paid here to Titus, Paul’s co-worker (vs 13–16). Paul will not boast of himself, but he does so of Titus, an agent of reconciliation, a peacemaker, who came to be loved equally by both parties to the dispute. Truly a servant of God.
Do you need to make peace with someone? ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.’2
Father God, I want to embrace the truth that Jesus taught about peacemaking. I want to do the godly work of bringing the alienated together.
Last Updated on June 6, 2023 by kingstar