a Christian model for correction
2:1 So I made up my own mind not to pay you another painful visit. 2:2 For if I make you sad, who would be left to make me glad but the one I caused to be sad? 2:3 And I wrote this very thing to you, so that when I came I would not have sadness from those who ought to make me rejoice, since I am confident in you all that my joy would be yours. 2:4 For out of great distress and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears, not to make you sad, but to let you know the love that I have especially for you.
As I read Paul's 2nd letter to the church in Corinth this morning, I was taken aback by his compassion for this church that needed so much correction. It stands in sharp contrast to so much Christian bickering on the internet, including what I have contributed. But then, I am a legalist, see previous post, and legalists aren't known for their compassion. Literally, compassion means "to suffer with." I think Paul exemplifies this in his letter. He speaks forcefully in this letter, as in all his letter, but it's a letter of love. As a younger parent, I couldn't understand why my kids beastly behavior would provoke such strong reactions from me. A wise friend told me that the depth of my involvement, my love for them, makes my heart so vulnerable to their choices. Believe me, I speak forcefully and loudly to them, when they bicker and hurt each other. Paul writes like a parent. When they drift it breaks his heart like a wandering adolescent breaks a parent's heart.
I want to speak compassionately, with grace, on the internet. That last part might be the hardest.