23 But I call God to witness against me—it was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.
2 For I made up my mind not to make another painful visit to you. 2 For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? 3 And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. 4 For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.
Forgive the Sinner
5 Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. 6 For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, 7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9 For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (2 Co 1:23–2:11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Church Family: Family Friction
Sometimes we drive each other crazy, especially in our families. No one knows how to push your but-tons like your parents, your siblings, your spouse, and your kids. There are so many different teachings about how to handle that family conflict, oftentimes contradictory things that all claim to be common sense or Christian practice, when the reality is, it often depends upon the situation.
Sometimes we choose to hash things out and not go to bed angry. Sometimes we choose to let things be because they are just not worth fighting about. Other times we change our relationships, perhaps not spending as much time with them to allow wounds to heal and get perspective. Then there is the real question of how forgiveness and grace works in the midst of conflict and broken relationships.
Sometimes grace says you have to let someone go. We preach that a lot to people who are dating and in relationships that just aren't working out. But sometimes it applies to those blood relationships, even parent-child relationships. I remember the story of the prodigal son, where the father let the boy leave, even though he knew the mess he would make of his life. Real love lets people go when they are not best served by staying in a bad situation. But then, real love welcomes them back in when the people change. The sinner in Corinth who bragged about his sin in church was not being helped by being in church. He needed to be shown the door so he could rediscover, just like the prodigal son, the true val-ue of Christian community and the family of grace. There are no set rules for how to handle every situa-tion. Whatever the conflict, we have to lean on God for guidance and grace to help us move through it.
Reflection: What conflict are you dealing with today? How do you handle conflict? How does your fam-ily handle it? What does Christ's example of love and grace tell you about how you need to move through your conflict?
Trying to hear the music in the din of many voices.
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