A BRIDGE HALF BUILT
I thank You, God, for Your love for me.
Read 2 Corinthians 6:3–13
3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. 12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13 As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectWithout the security of God’s love it is very difficult to reach out to others, especially when you have been hurt.
Paul has resisted “commending” himself to the church at Corinth (3:1). Other teachers and apostles may highlight their credentials, but Paul prefers to be more straightforward (4:2). The only way he has “commended himself” is by removing any possible barrier between himself and the Corinthians (4). He and Timothy want to be received not as powerful, impressive church leaders but as servants of God. So their credentials are suffering, endurance, Christ-likeness, and selfless service.
Still today Christians are often drawn to leaders and speakers who convey power and success. Big names, impressive media, great organization, and compelling vision are not bad in themselves. However, this passage provides a better basis for genuine Christian ministry.
Verses 11 to 13 are possibly the most vulnerable words in any of Paul’s writings. What more can he do? He has opened his heart to the Corinthians. He can only wait for them to do the same for him. This place of vulnerability and weakness also shows Paul at his most Christ-like, for reconciliation with God was made possible only through the vulnerability and apparent weakness of the cross.
It can be a tricky line between vulnerability and allowing others to hurt you. Do you have a wise Christian mentor who could advise you how to move forward in difficult relationships?
Holy Spirit, inspect my relationships. Show me any way in which I could be more open, vulnerable, and Christ-like to create fellowship.
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