Life is about people, not stuff, relationships not accumulations. And where two or three are gathered, there will be conflict! That is why forgiveness is so important. Paul had an intimate relationship with the people of Corinth. As a result, he could share both his incredible joy with them as well as his deep concerns.
In the first 11 verses we see that true forgiveness addresses sin, helps people change, restores relationships, keeps us humble and helps us from sinning even more. Apparently someone had said or done something to Paul and it really upset the Corinthian believers. They confronted that person (vs 6) so that he wouldn’t negatively affect others (Gal 6:1-2). Because the tendency is to hurt people back when they hurt us, Paul writes “instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.” In other words, forgive them, and don’t make them jump through hoops, God’s forgiveness has no restrictions! Living like this will help against the schemes of the devil, who wants us to fight with each other and be divided!
Verses 12-17 teach us the priority of relationships over tasks, even ministry. Paul put Titus before a ministry opportunity! Apparently he had planned to meet Titus in Troas and get a report. Even though the Lord opened a great door for him and people were coming to Christ - No Titus = No Peace – so he left. Yet he looked beyond his personal troubles andd thanked God, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” And finally, Paul was in ministry for the people, not for the money: “…we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.”
*Which is harder for you – to give forgiveness or to ask for it? Whichever one we say, it is pride that makes it difficult. Who do you need to forgive today? Is there someone whom you need to ask forgiveness of? Let me encourage you, the longer you wait, the harder it is and the more damage it does. Make things right today., and “as far as you can, live at peace with all men.”
*How are you doing with balancing family, work, ministry, etc…? There are times we need to say no to “tasks” and spend time with people. Jesus did it, Paul did it, and you & I need to do it now or we probably never will. Where our treasure is, our heart will be also. Lord please help me to treasure relationships above tasks!