Our Motivation as Blievers
Our motivation as believers
Last week we saw that Paul used the example of God to show that he has the same mind for them. Remember, Paul said he was going to make two visits to them but made ZERO instead. So implied in the text is the fact that the Corinthians were mad at him and accusing him of despising them. So he gave them his theological reason for his reliability, based on the reliability of Christ. Now he gives them his personal reason why he didn’t make the 2 visits. He is basically saying, "hey, I just told you how I view you, I view you like God views you, but here is the reason why I didn't come after I said I would. The reason may shock you just like it may have shocked the believers in Corinth.
Paul says here is why I didn’t come to visit you. He calls upon God as his witness in vs. 23 But I call God to witness against me… Some versions say witness to or against my soul. Basically, this is Paul’s way cross my heart and may God strike me down if I am lying. He is very serious that what he is about to say is the absolute truth.
The truth of his not coming if you look at the rest of the verse Paul says I didn’t come for your sake. It was not b/c I didn’t want to see you, it wasn’t b/c I was too busy for you, the real reason I didn’t come to see you was for your sake.
Because he is the spiritual leader of that community he could have come in theological and ideological guns blazing trying to win an argument. His goal is not to be Lord over them. He knows only Jesus is lord over them, but he is in a position of authority. He also understands that his authority comes from Christ not because he is any better than any of them. Because he says that is a fellow worker for their joy and it is their faith in Christ that makes them stand securely.
If you still don’t believe him he gives further explanation. Look at 2:1; He made up his mind that he would not make another painful visit to them because they are his joy. Paul finds joy in these folks and therefore he want to bring them joy. If he makes them sad then he too is saddened.
But he also has an obligation to confront these people because of the ungodliness he sees. There are three things we should learn from Paul when we deal with people.
1. We have a responsibility to correct those we love. This is not the crux of this passage but it is implied. This letter, along with 1 Corinthians is a rebuke, from love, trying to correct a church that is caught in sin. As brothers and sisters in Christ we are too bare one anothers' burdens and hold each other accountable. Our Lord said in Matthew that if your brother sins against you then you are to go to him, correct him. God even gave us the bible according to 2 Timothy as a foundation for correction and rebuke. So, we have a responsibility to correct others who are sinning in a loving and encouraging ways. But, before you start making your list of people you want to “correct” let’s take a look at the other two areas.
2. We are to put the good of others over ourselves. Notice Paul did not say that he was their master, neither are we master over anyone. Instead, as brothers and sisters in Christ we have the responsibility to work for the joy of others. So you have you little list of people you want to “correct” you MUST do so thinking about what is best for them. Jesus also told us in Mathew 7 not to judge other (or be hypocritical) by trying to pull the speck, or splinter, out of our brother’s eye while we have a huge 2X4 sticking out of own. It is better for them when we remove our 2x4 and THEN help them remove the splinter. We should not take it lightly when we try to correct someone, but seriously take into consideration what is best for them even if it isn’t comfortable.
3. You need to reaffirm them in love even during the rebuke. This assumes you already love the other person, but nowadays we need to not assume that. YOU must rebuke them IN LOVE, BECAUSE OF LOVE, SHOWING THEM LOVE. If you correct a brother or sister not out of love then YOU are the one sinning.
So what? Great info Aaron but what does this look like? Not only that what does this look like in your life, in our life? Let me tell you. In the last 2 months I have had to live this out more than any other time I can remember. I have had to confront quite a few people with a wide range of issues. And each one I could have gone in and bullied that person. I’m a big guy what are they gonna do to me, beat me up? Also, I know lots of stuff about the Bible so are they are going to prove me wrong? And if they did I probably could have just beat them up until they said I was right. You get the point? But I didn’t do that. In every instance I tried to have the same attitude as Paul and with great anguish and a heavy heart. In one instance I had to approach a person about a VERY touchy situation and my goal was to produce in them joy, not bring them sadness. But I also knew that in each of these cases that continuing in sin leads to deep sadness and lots of baggage. So I planned out what I would say in each instance. I put my own comfort aside.
I hate having to do it, but it is necessary. I like joking around and hanging out with others, and if given the choice I will ignore the problem and hope it solves itself. I had a plan, I put the other person’s benefit over my comfort, and I went to them and talked to them. I tried to demonstrate my love for that person as the motivation for confronting and reaffirm that love over and again the whole time I was correcting them.
I will tell you something wonderful. Each instance both of us left encouraged. We didn’t skip away with our arms locked, I wanted to but they said no… No, it was still awkward and even removing a splinter is painful, but unity was maintained and each one knows a little better the love for the other.
We are going to encourage each other. I don’t expect any of you to have formulated an intricate plan to confront someone, but let’s work on the 3 part. I want to you pair up. Find someone you can encourage. Pray with them and encourage them as best as you can.