2 Corinthians 7:2-11 (ESV)
Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.
One of the best books I have ever read, apart from the Scriptures themselves, is a book written in the late 1600s and is actually a chronicle of conversations between Brother Lawrence and Nicholas Herman of Lorraine: The Practice of The Presence of God The Best Rule of A Holy Life. (Brother Lawrence). Translated from the French.
What makes this book so good, is that Brother Lawrence is truly humble, and has a way of demonstrating his faith and devotion to God that is tough to emulate. He considers it a joy and a privilege even to wash the dishes for the other brothers in the monastery. He joined the monastery thinking that he could be [literally] whipped into shape, as he believed himself worthy of needing punishment for his sins.
When I compare this passage of Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians to the book about Brother Lawrence, I am amazed how little we learn even though we read and study, etc. Paul speaks to the Church in Corinth about the need for them to learn from his discipline, but also he rejoiced in their love for him, and their zeal for the Lord. Paul rejoices that his harsh words caused them grief enough that they repented of their sins.
We all need to reflect upon the desire to place ourselves above others. We need to think about the way we can help and serve others. We need to correct people when they are in error, but we need to do so with love, even when it becomes painful. Correction can cause pain, but pain is not always bad. Sometimes pain teaches us important lessons.
May the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus be with all of us and our country and elected officials in this difficult time. May we be peacemakers, not part of the problem. May we all seek God’s Grace and Mercy.
by Virgil Stripes