Thursday, 10 September 2015
Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one.
2 Corinthians 7:2
Paul now makes a most emotional appeal to his beloved brethren at Corinth. He begins with the words translated here as “Open your hearts to us.” The words “your hearts” are inserted by the translators. The word “open” means “to make room.” And so the thought is “Make room for us (in your hearts).” They had once make sufficient room for Paul and the other apostles, but through infighting, divisions, etc. they had closed them off. Paul is begging for this to be undone.
Following this appeal, he justifies his request by stating three thoughts in rapid succession. In the Greek, each begins with the term “no man.” Thus “no man” is in the emphatic position. In essence, “No one we have wronged, no one we have corrupted, no one we have cheated.” By stating it this way, he is intentionally showing that no individual can lay a charge against them, much less the whole. They have acted in a blameless manner toward all people and each person.
His first of the three thoughts is “we have wronged no one.” This may be a refutation of any charges of greed which had been levied against him or any of the other apostles, as if having swindled them in some way. They also proclaimed only the truth of the gospel without adding in anything which would defile it. Each person was treated in the same caring way, and no individual could come forward and state that they had been individually mistreated by them.
Secondly, he says that “we have corrupted no one.” This word carries the sense of defilement. There was nothing impure in how they acted towards any person. There were no sexual advances made, and there was only that which could be regarded as pure and undefiled in their attitude and treatment of each and every person they encountered.
Finally, he says that “we have cheated no one.” The word used here for “cheated” is used only by Paul, in 2 Corinthians and 1 Thessalonians. It adds in the concept of seeking gain or exploiting another which isn’t specifically implied in the other two verbs. There was no hint of acting in a deceptive manner in order to obtain personal gain.
In these three examples, Paul has wisely placed “no one” in the emphatic position to show that no individual could come forward and say that. “I may not have been cheated, but I’m sure he cheated someone else.” If that were true, then “someone else” would have the ability to come forward at the reading of the letter to show that he had been wronged. In writing to all, he has also addressed each individual personally.
Life application: How good it would be if we could all make the same claim that Paul has made. This is especially true with our spiritual leaders. Instead of defrauding the flock, pastors and other spiritual leaders should be building them up and tending to them with gentle care.
Heavenly Father, I pray for wisdom in how I handle my interpersonal relationships with others. Give me the ability and the heart to never cheat, wrong, or corrupt another for the sake of personal gain. Instead, give me wisdom in how to build up and tend to their needs, putting them ahead of myself in all matters, but especially the spiritual matters that they may need help with. Keep me from any impure or wicked attitude as I serve them in Your name. Amen.