2Co 2:1-4 “But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.”
In the close of the first chapter of this epistle, Paul commented that he did not come to them as he had originally planned because hoped to spare them (treat the with kindness). In First Corinthians, Paul had to address a number of issues within the church. There was a lot of division and ungodliness taking place and his heart was obviously very heavy by the tone of that letter.
He had made up his mind (determined within himself) that he would not come to them with sorrow in this visit. As servants of God, it is sometimes unavoidable to bring reproof and rebuke from God’s word. Because of the great love He gives us for His children, this is always done with a measure of sorrow in our hearts. We should be thankful that He grants us a time when we can look forward to coming again with joy, which was Paul’s desire.
Paul readily confesses that the fellowship of his brethren in Christ makes him glad (causes him to rejoice). Again, as servants of God, we have great joy in being with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We should be thankful that He has made it so in our hearts. Our desire is to have joy among our brethren, and it is hard to come in a way that is going to cause those that give us joy to be sorrowful in themselves.
In expressing his desire to have joy with them, he explained that this was the reason he wrote to them in the manner he did. It was Paul’s desire that in writing to them concerning the things that needed attention, when he did finally come it would be to rejoice in their obedience and faithfulness to God’s word. When it falls our lot to rebuke and reprove, it should always be with this same humility and desire.
Paul gives the Corinthian brethren great assurance here. He did not write to them in order to make them feel bad about themselves or to show his superiority. He wrote to them out of the depths of his love for them. His rebuke was not one of self-righteous indignation, but rather with great heaviness of heart. While it might seem easier at time to just let things slide, it is not the loving thing to do.
There were times in my life when my parents had to correct me. It was sometimes painful physically, but always painful to my heart. I did not enjoy it nor did I look forward to it. However, at no time did I ever believe they did not love me. Even though I might entertain that though in my mind for a moment, my heart always perceived the love and sorrow they felt at having to correct me.
May God bless us to love His children so much that we would be faithful, like Paul, to give necessary rebuke and at the same time abound toward each other in gentleness of heart!