We all have written letters that later we regretted but in hindsight we are glad we aired our concerns. Today we use email and sometimes it is misread, misunderstood but it is there for the world to see if we are not careful. Paul had written a mighty letter to the church in Corinth about an offender and the Corinthians did not receive it with grace. His second letter which we are studying is a reflection on how Paul viewed their response and how he wisely used an intermediary (Titus) to settle the issue. It teaches us some important principles of letters and they can be used to cross that breach…that letter we wrote and then wish we had not but then in hindsight are glad we did. It is important to note that Paul’s honesty has brought true repentance to the church and more importantly to the offender who was living blatantly in sin, thus tarnishing the image of Christ and the church.
As Paul waited he continued to work in Macedonia even amidst slander, as well as some praise. Some regarded him as an imposter and on and on. It is part of the territory for a believer that one will face extraordinary circumstances for sharing the Word of the Lord, but like Paul, we are not to sit idly but be active. As Paul wandered about, preaching and teaching, his mind was on Corinth and the believers there. He wondered how Titus was faring with the believers after his letter (1Cor) had been sent. Titus arrived with glowing news! The Corinthians still loved Paul and had repented regarding how they had handled the offender noted in 1Cor who was bringing shame upon the church. Paul as euphoric at the news Titus brought.
There are some principles from chapter 7 that we can take to heart:
- God uses other believers to encourage us when we are anxious or depressed or downtrodden. It can come through a visit or a written letter.
- The second part of this principle is that as believers we can reciprocate with words of encouragement in return to the one for whom we were anxious. Prov 25:25 “Like cold water to a weary person, so is good news from a distant land.”
- And the third part of this principle is that in doing so we are demonstrating love from one to another and exhibiting Christ-like grace. Notice how Paul affirms the Corinthians at the end of this chapter: 7:16 “I rejoice because in everything I am fully confident in you.”
God took time to write a letter of His love to each of us which are His Words of affirmation and encouragement. His message was “I love you.” Paul’s letter back to the Corinthians was the same message. “I love you!”
Are you waiting for an answer from a note you have sent? Has God brought a person to mind that needs affirming because of circumstances which have brought anxiety? Take a moment and pick up pen and paper and send a note! Let them know about God’s love and your love for them.