Sunday, 20 September 2015
Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.
2 Corinthians 7:12
Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians contains references to a situation of sexual immorality which was so distasteful that it is “not even named among the Gentiles.” In other words, it was something that even Gentiles would consider perverse. From his words to them in that chapter, he makes it clear that his main intent was to cure the entire congregation of reveling in what occurred. In verse 6, he said, “Your glorying is not good.”
It was an overall rebuke to the church. With that in mind, he begins with, “Therefore…” He is referring to the entire chapter so far as a basis for his words now. This is true even from verse 1 which said, “…let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
For the perfecting of such holiness, along with everything else he has spoken of here, he says, “…although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong.” He is clear that the letter wasn’t meant as a rant against the offender or a defense for the offended (although these issues would be handled properly if the congregation took the necessary action he gave). Rather, the overall intent of his words was “that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.”
His concern was for the overall congregation and His care of them in the sight of God. Going back and reading 1 Corinthians 5, this is wholly evident. For Him to say to them “that a little leaven leavens the whole lump” implies that he was concerned about the entire lump of dough, not just one piece of bread broken off from the lump. Paul’s care for the entire body is what was evident, and so this is what he is explaining to them now.
Life application: Misunderstandings arise because people often don’t take the time to thoroughly investigate a matter. When this happens, care needs to be taken in order to resolve the misunderstanding. Don’t be over-excited when responding to others in matters of such difficulty. Instead, think through your response in the life of Christian fraternity.
Lord God, how often offenses are taken because of misunderstandings, especially when people don’t take the time to simply research a matter. At times like this, help me to be a person who can properly evaluate the situation and bring the disaffected parties back to a place of fraternity and love. The last thing we need in this world is more contention and division. Thank You for being with me in such times. Amen.