Last week, I got the meaty chapter of 1 Corinthians 13–well known for its lesson on love. Paul writes to the church in Corinth to correct them. He follows up with 2 Corinthians.
2 For if I cause you grief, who will make me glad? Certainly not someone I have grieved. 3 That is why I wrote to you as I did, so that when I do come, I won’t be grieved by the very ones who ought to give me the greatest joy. Surely you all know that my joy comes from your being joyful. 4 I wrote that letter in great anguish, with a troubled heart and many tears. I didn’t want to grieve you, but I wanted to let you know how much love I have for you. 2 Corinthians 2:2-4, NLT.
Anyone can stand back in judgment and condemnation. But to approach a situation with love? To make love the focus and goal? I go back to 1 Corinthians 13 and think longer.
5 I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. 6 Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. 7 Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. 8 So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.
9 I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions. 10 When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, 11 so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes. 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, NLT.
Paul urges love over discouragement. Forgiveness and comfort over opposition.
Over the summer, I realized how many things were jockeying for first place in my life–some gaining that position over other things that should have held it. No wonder I felt so overwhelmed. I knew this school year, health and responsibilities would require lessons in boundaries, priorities and discipline. Those lessons (boundaries, priorities, discipline) all gain new perspective in light of God’s Word.
Self: don’t lose sight of your focus and goal.
Father God, help me not to lose sight of the things that really matter to you. I just want to keep my eyes on you. Thank you for your continued work in my heart and in my life. You bring me great peace in the midst of storms.