LINK: 2 Corinthians 2
Look at the emotions of Paul revealed in this chapter! So many times we look at the Bible as a dry book, but this chapter reflects what its human author is feeling: love for those he'd led to the Lord, sorrow that they would think he wanted to hurt them, forgiveness for a wrongdoer, and concern for Titus.
Paul deals with the importance of forgiveness and restoration here (vv 7-11) as well as the importance of integrity (vv 14-17).
The letter that Paul refers to in the first part of this chapter is not believed to be 1 Corinthians, but a letter that was sent after that.
This short chapter gives me a lot to think about!
How easy it is for us to misunderstand each others' motives. That is why it is important for us to communicate, to show our hearts, as Paul does at the beginning of the chapter.
We see here just why forgiveness is important! The church at Corinth had disciplined someone in their group for wrongdoing, and Paul makes clear here that their love for this man needs to be expressed; they need to forgive and comfort him so that sorrow doesn't swallow him. We are given each other as believers for accountability. There is a time for discipline. But the discipline isn't the end. Often we err in one of two ways. We either excuse wrongdoing without addressing it or we reject the wrongdoer and leave it there. Always we should keep in mind the foundation of our relationship, the Lord Jesus, and speak the truth in love. There is a time for discipline, but there is also a time for forgiveness and comfort and reaffirmation of love.
Depending on whom we are talking with, we will either stink or smell sweet! To those whose hearts are open to the Lord Jesus we will be a sweet fragrance of life. They will discern the love and truth of our message To those who seek their own way, we will stink of death, because they refuse to find life in Jesus. Don't expect everyone to welcome the truth of the good news of Jesus.
Is there someone who has wronged you, and you are forgetting the reason for relationship? Have your feelings been hurt? Are you holding that against the other person? Remember that Jesus has forgiven you. As He has forgiven us, so we are to forgive others.
Live your life sincerely for Jesus - as His captive - and you will be an aroma! Just don't expect everyone you meet to like how you smell!
Father, help us to love as you love. Thank you that Jesus gave Himself for us. Help us to die to ourselves and live for Him. That may mean dying to our own hurts in order to forgive. It may mean that we are rejected because we can't affirm someone who follows their own way to death. No matter what, Lord, help us to love in truth. That is such a hard balance and one for which we are insufficient. Help us to live knowing that we are in your sight.