In all of our relationships, we must learn how to speak the truth in love. It is an essential part of relational growth to take a deeper dive. Like a parent, the words of Paul resonate with sticktoitiveness. It shows the kind of patient endurance that doesn’t throw in the towel. A rugged tenacity that gets up after the final punch. Just when you think Paul has good reason to give up on the Corinthians, his plea for restoration goes on and on. Furthermore, he shows unrelenting love. The kind of love that is undiminished in intensity, unyielding in affection, and uncompromising in purpose.
Steadfastness in Relationships
Read 2 Cor. 7:2-10. If you recall, the Corinthians were consumed with their outer shell. For example, things like the notoriety, status, and wealth were their top pursuit in life. And somewhere along the line, someone came along swaying their thinking away from the truth by purporting that they should be looking for a different Savior. Not Jesus. Rather, someone who has a bunch of important credentials behind their name.
Thankfully, Paul continued to pursue the heart of the Corinthians. Reminding them to listen to the Holy Spirit and rely on Jesus–because our earthly vessels are frail. Fortunately, a shift in focus is being made.
Eternal, not temporal.
Spirit, not flesh.
As we read this text, it is easy to gloss too fast. Let’s not forget, Paul’s words were not welcomed. To clarify, they didn’t come as a breath of fresh air. There was a bit of resistance going on. And I can guarantee you when we speak the truth to someone, it is like playing Russian roulette. You never know how it’s going to go.
Speaking the Truth in Love
Here is where Paul offers us some keen advice: drown the truth in love. Put yourself in the shoes of the other person. Do you have their best interest in mind? Do they have a special place in your heart?
I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds. 2 Cor. 7:3-4
Paul is so proud of the Corinthians! You can speak “tough truth” to someone when they know you love them and want what is best for them. Speaking the truth in love is what we do for someone out of our deep desire to see them grow. Moreover, Paul doesn’t hesitate to tell them how he feels! He is encouraged by their spiritual growth. Meanwhile, Paul has a sincere desire for what is best for them…and shares the hard stuff too. Consequently, his words of confrontation are well-balanced with encouragement. Man, too often we leave the good stuff out! The key is to keep perfect balance…a little sugar and a little spice.
Our children need to know that they are precious in the sunshine and in the rain. — Dr. Karyn Purvis
Set Your Eyes on the Soul, Not the Sinner
Maybe you are in a Corinthian condition right now. But God sees you through the eyes of Christ. Besides, He sees you in a finished state. Besides, He knows who you will become! That’s how Paul dealt with the Corinthians, setting his eyes on souls rather than sinners. Grabbing tightly on to hope. Wherever you are today–God can meet you there!
Finally, take a moment to thank God for His unrelenting love today. And then, think about someone you can share it with. Write them a note. Send them a text. Do something to let them know.