2 So I decided that I would not bring you grief with another painful visit. 2 For if I cause you grief, who will make me glad? Certainly not someone I have grieved. 3 That is why I wrote to you as I did, so that when I do come, I won’t be grieved by the very ones who ought to give me the greatest joy. Surely you all know that my joy comes from your being joyful. 4 I wrote that letter in great anguish, with a troubled heart and many tears. I didn’t want to grieve you, but I wanted to let you know how much love I have for you.
Forgiveness for the Sinner
5 I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. 6 Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. 7 Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. 8 So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.
9 I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions. 10 When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, 11 so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.
12 When I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me. 13 But I had no peace of mind because my dear brother Titus hadn’t yet arrived with a report from you. So I said good-bye and went on to Macedonia to find him.
Ministers of the New Covenant
14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?
17 You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.
Paul is being very personal in this letter, and seems very troubled by what has transpired. The very first verse shows us his last visit was not a pleasant one, seemingly the correct and rebuke was a likely a big factor. It was so unpleasant he wrote a letter before his next visit just to try and smooth things over with these people that he very clearly feels a great deal of responsibility and love for. Paul was testing them also in this letter, to ensure they would be doing right and following the instruction he gave. He was so troubled by this that, even though the Lord gave him opportunity, he just could not minister in the city of Troas because he had not yet heard back from Timothy how things were going in Corinth and could not focus on what he was doing. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Have you ever had bad news or some event going on in your life, and it consumes your thoughts? Maybe waiting on results from the doctor, or you just had a huge fight with your spouse. Waiting to hear back from an interview or just watching or reading the news each day about the virus. It can consume our mind and cause us to lose focus on what we are doing, almost rendering us helpless at times.
But Paul shows us by example what to do. In his last few verses, he first says “but thank God!”. and turns our attention back towards Jesus. Thankfulness and Jesus, our savior and Word of God. When we focus on these, it will help bring the peace in our hearts that we need during a time of stress. In this time of uncertainty with the pandemic, or whether it’s some other thing that is stressing you, remember to continue to dig into God’s word and really consider the blessings in your life each day. Thank God for them.
Lord, thank you for all you have blessed me with. Thank you for my family, my friends, my job, plenty of food and a nice house. Thank you for health and the ability to bless others today. Help me with any anxious thoughts and worries. I place them at your feet today. In the name of Jesus, amen.