Wednesday, 10 June 2015
For if I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me? 2 Corinthians 2:2
Opening this chapter, Paul noted that concerning his visit to the Corinthians he had decided that he “would not come again to you in sorrow.” The reason for this is explained in this verse now. “For if I make you sorrowful” relates to the previous verse. If he came in sorrow, meaning with the need to discipline, then they would be filled with sorrow.
The “I” in this is emphatic and it implies that there were others who caused them trouble as well, thus he is singling himself out to make his point – “For if I (emphatic) make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me?” The intent of his words is that there existed such a relationship between them. If one side were sorrowful, the other side was there to comfort the other. However, if both sides were sorrowful, then neither could comfort the other. There would be only a mournful and tense gathering.
In this, the question is rather abrupt and it uses a singular, not a plural number for “he” and “the one.” Some see this as the man referred to in 1 Corinthians 5. He is just a single member of the church, but he has caused the entire congregation to lose their joy. However, what is more likely is that this is referring to the whole collectively. In other words, “Who is he then….?” The reason this is likely is that the entire congregation was involved in allowing the offender to stay in the church, despite his immoral conduct. This is what Paul will address in order to correct. Because of this, the singular speaks for each individual within the whole.
Paul knew that the entire congregation would mourn over his visit and needed discipline and thus there would have been only sorrow for all concerned. Because of this, such a visit would ultimately be unproductive.
Life application: Paul has demonstrated wisdom by addressing an issue via letter rather than personally in order to maintain a sense of harmony between the believers. Eventually, a personal visit would be in order. If we can learn from this example, we will be better off than always assuming that a personal face to face visit is the best option in all circumstances.
Heavenly Father, I absolutely cherish those I fellowship with. But like a family, it is inevitable that little annoyances and dissensions will arise. I would pray that the bond of a blood-family would exist between my spiritual family and me so that we will be willing to overlook the little faults that arise and to remain loyal to one another, even through such things. May Your hand of wisdom be with us in this as we worship You in a true spirit of fellowship and love. Amen.