2Co 6:11-13 “O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.”
Paul has spent several verses in this chapter describing to the church at Corinth (and by extension, to the church in general) how he and his companions in the ministry have exhibited (approved) that they are the ministers of God. He has described the situations they have found themselves in. He has declared the power by which they dealt with those situations. Finally, he describes their real, spiritual estate as compared to how they might be viewed by the world.
Now he says to them “our mouth is opened unto you.” Seeing the proof that they were indeed the ministers of God, he declares to them that the church is receiving from them the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. They are not speaking lies, or old wives’ tales, or declaring their own strength. Instead, they are declaring to the church the ministry of reconciliation by God through Jesus.
Paul spoke to the church in the plural about the ministers they had. He was reminding them that he was not the only one who had born witness of the truth of God. It is a powerful statement that he said “our mouth” and not “our mouths.” Certainly, every one of them had a mouth, but the significance here is that they spoke with one voice: they all had the same message that Jesus is Lord!
As he assures them that they will speak to them the truth, he also assures them that it is done out of a great love. Even though he has reproved them in the past (and will yet do so in this letter), it comes from the fact that he speaks to them the gospel with great love. Again note the unity that he writes of concerning the love that all the faithful ministers have for the church: both mouth and heart is singular.
God gives His ministers gifts as He sees fit. We do not all have the same background, the same education, or the same oratory style. Yet, when God blesses us to preach His truth, we have one voice. When He blesses us with a love for His children, we have one heart. This is true because regardless of the divisions that may exist in men, we minister in the unity of the Spirit.
It is evident that the gospel was not well-received by everyone in Paul’s day, and the same is true today. Sometimes we find those who are resisting the truth of the gospel do so because they think they are going to be hemmed into a corner and no longer be free. They do not understand that the liberty that exists in Christ is a greater freedom than anything the world has to offer.
Paul is answering this attitude when he told the church “ye are not straitened (hemmed in or distressed) in us.” The truth shall make you free, so any cramped feeling that you may get when you hear the truth preached in love is not the fault of the minister. That distress lies within the depths of our own feelings, and we must deal with it by God’s mercy.
Finally, Paul expresses something that is in every true minister’s heart. He tells the church that he loves them so much that he is going to always tell them the truth according to the word of God. His heart has been made big enough (by God’s grace) the he is able to love them, even though they have rejected his teaching in the past. He speaks to them with the same depth of love as a man addressing his children and tells them that he desires their hearts to be enlarged toward his ministry as his heart is toward them.
As minsters of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we cannot ever lose sight of the love that He has for His children. Whether we are giving comfort or rebuke, it must be from this great depth of love and not from an attitude of whipping people in line. When the church develops that same attitude of love, then even when it is hard to hear, they will receive the truth with the same love it is given.
May God give us one mouth and one heart, that we may love the church and have love from the church!