Monday, June 10, 2013

2 Corinthians 2 - Truth in Love and Fragrant Aromas

LINK: 2 Corinthians 2

BACKGROUND


in 2 Corinthians 2:1-4, Paul continues the subject he started in 2 Corinthians 1, his defense of his change in plans. He planned to visit, but he wrote a letter that caused them sorrow (7:8, 9). This is not 1 Corinthians but a letter between the time period of 1 and 2 Corinthians. It caused them sorrow because he spoke truth to them in love! 

In 2:5-11, Paul addresses forgiving the man who had been punished by the church but repented. I wonder if it was the same man Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians 5. It is hard to forgive, accept, and comfort, but church discipline is all about hopeful restoration of fellowship! 


In 2:12-17, Paul expresses that despite the detours and disappointments, God was sovereign, in control, and would lead him. When he expressed that God would lead him in "triumph in Christ" in verse 2:14, he is alluding to the tribute given to Romans generals after they had won a victory that had killed at least 5,000 enemy soldiers and gained new territory. The "Roman Triumph" was a processional with the commander riding in a golden chariot with his soldiers, sons,  and the prisoners of war parading behind. The priests would also be there burning incense to the gods. The aroma of the incense was the smell of death to the prisoners but life and victory to the soldiers and sons. Jesus was the great general who came to new territory (earth) and defeated the enemy (Satan)!  We are the sons who smell the sweet aroma of victory. Non-believers smell only death and defeat.  


He concluded the chapter by defending his character by saying his motives in ministry were pure!


REFLECTION 


I can so relate with Paul! I have gotten the, "You hurt me by your rebuke" defense before. It does not matter how much I pray for it beforehand and deliver it in the most loving manner, the truth often hurts! 


Then you have people like my mother-in-law. I have only had to confront her about something once, but she jumped right out of her chair and kissed me on the forehead and said, "Thank you so much! I had no idea I was doing that!" Then she proceeded to tell my husband, every time they were on the phone for the next year, how thankful she was that I said something to her! You gotta' love a woman like that!


Proverbs 27:6 says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy."  My best friends are the ones who speak the truth to me in love.


APPLICATION


How receptive are you to "faithful wounds"?


How much do you speak the truth in love when you know your friends (and family) are making bad choices?  Do you ignore doing it because of fear?

Are you more concerned about being well liked than the welfare of your loved one? 

When you do speak truth, do you do it out of frustration and anger or out of love? 

PRAYER


Lord, teach us to speak the truth in love. Teach us to accept the truth with grace. Amen. 
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