Thursday, 3 September 2015
Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open. 2 Corinthians 6:13
In the previous two verses, Paul has noted that the apostles had opened their hearts wide to the Corinthians and that they had not withheld their affections for them. On the other hand, the Corinthians had withheld theirs. Now Paul notes what would be good “in return for the same.” Some translations say “for a recompense,” but this leans toward implying a repayment. Rather than a repayment, Paul is simply asking for a like-return. The NIV does a good job with the thought using the words, “a fair exchange.” As if in a fair exchange, he says to them “you also be open.”
This is no different than any other social grace which is given out. If someone says to their neighbor “Hi Tom,” all he would expect in return is a “Hi Paul!” And with each different level of openness between friends, one would expect there to be an exchange in kind for a kindness shown. And in the case of Paul and the believers in Corinth, there is an added reason for this which is implied in the words, “I speak as to children.”
Paul was, as it were, a spiritual father to the congregation. In such a relationship, one would expect the children to give their parents the same kindness that the parents had given to them. If not, then the relationship would be unbalanced and would easily become an unsatisfying one.
Paul uses the same father/child metaphor with them in 1 Corinthians 4:14 and he also conveys it to those in Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 2:11. He considered the churches he established as his family and those in them as his own dear children. To the Galatians, he speaks in a very similar manner concerning the idea of becoming like him –
“Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I became like you.” Galatians 4:12
Paul was a man of passion for those he shared the gospel with. He cherished them and he desired them to reciprocate with the same feelings of affection.
Life application: One-sided relationships will eventually wear out the one who is always on the giving side. Unfortunately, the giver is often unwilling to ask for a fair exchange of affection in fear of losing the relationship. But Paul shows us that it is right and proper to speak one’s heart in times like this in order to find a happy balance in such matters.
Heavenly Father, help me to be a giving person who is willing to expend myself for the sake of others. And yet, help me not to be duped by those who would take advantage of my attempts to be kind and sharing. It’s often hard to know how far to go with a relationship without giving unnecessary offense. So I would pray for the wisdom to know what is right and appropriate as stressful times come up between me and others. Grant me this wisdom so that You will always be glorified through how I conduct myself. Amen.