2 Corinthians 2

This devotional is written by Emma Jones.

2 Corinthians 2

1 So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. 2 For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? 3 I wrote as I did, so that when I came I would not be distressed by those who should have made me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. 4 For I wrote to you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.

Forgiveness for the offender
5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent - not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9 Another reason I wrote to you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven - if there was anything to forgive - I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Ministers of the new covenant
12 Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, 13 I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia.

14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ's triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.


I was sitting in a London Court recently in the press gallery for a high-profile trial. I was there when the verdicts were delivered and though I couldn't see the man's face, I felt just by his posture how much effort it was to withstand the guilty verdicts he received.

By contrast, when I was sitting out in the corridor awaiting that verdict, another man who had a court hearing had come out, jubilant, and said "is that the end of it then? I don't have to come here again?" And his barrister said, "yes." The guy went off with the weight of the world OFF his shoulders. I have no idea what that man did or didn't do, but I saw it's a very hard thing to be pronounced guilty, and a marvellous thing to go free.

There's been a lot of drama in this new church in Corinth, and this chapter of 2 Corinthians is an insight into the aftermath of the tumult.

Some unnamed man has been identified as the instigator of the trouble, or "pain" as Paul describes it, and he's been held accountable by the church. He is the guilty party.

When it comes to resolving conflict, we have Jesus's words from Luke 17:3 as a model. "Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him."

Loving confrontation shouldn't be something to avoid at all costs. But loving restoration is always the ideal after a dispute.

Paul doesn't describe himself as the injured party here but he was almost certainly very hurt by all this trouble. He advises the church to "pile on the love" on this man after his punishment, realising that otherwise he'll lose his faith as well as his friends, drowning under the weight of his own unhappiness and shame.

This is also, Paul says, for the health of the church. It's a collective love Paul asks the Corinthians to pour out on the guy. No one should be holding back.

Sometimes of course, the restoration of relationships isn't possible, although it's to be hoped it happened in this case. I imagine him responding like the man I saw in the corridor a court. But not holding a grudge, forgiveness from our hearts at offence - that's something we're asked to do every single day.

It might help to remember all of us are guilty, and God pronounces every day that we get to go free.

I pray for anyone drowning under the weight of their shame and guilt today, Jesus, that You'll restore them and their relationships. And for those not in that position, that the Spirit will guide them to discern who's going under, reach out and pour out love on those who most need it. Amen.

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