Tuesday, May 29, 2007

2 Corinthians 1:12-22

To understand this passage, we need to know a little about the background. Paul had been severely criticized for changing his plans, apparently breaking his promise to the Corinthians. These verses are an answer to that charge.

From the very outset, however, we can see that when Christians misunderstand each other, the wounds can go very deep. Reading this passage makes me think such misunderstandings have been around for a very long time, but that doesn’t make them any less painful—or excusable.

Though Paul had been forthright about his plans to visit Corinth, they accused him of following ordinary human standards (earthly wisdom), of being “flip” or careless with God’s will, and of doing what pleased him instead of what pleased God. And that shows us part of the problem with misunderstandings, even amongst God’s people. They are very difficult to untangle. One misunderstanding leads to another.

As Warren Wiersbe writes of this passage, “Once we start to question the integrity of others or distrust their words, the door is opened to all kinds of problems.” That seems to me to be a sentence that has great relevance to the church today.

One of the great prayers that has endured over the centuries is the prayer attributed to St. Francis. Perhaps you’d like to make it your prayer today.

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.
--Rob Merola+

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