Wednesday, June 1, 2016

EmmDev 2016-06-01 [Treasure in Clay Pots (2Cor)] Conflicts #1

Conflicts #1

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace. 13 For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14 as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.      (2Corinthians1:12-14)
Paul's letter changes gear after his introduction. There is a tension between him and the Corinthians. He had laid out an itinerary that included two visits to the Corinthians. Along the way it seems that Paul had also made a quick unscheduled visit where he came across some problems in the congregation and wrote them a tough letter about this. This had strained the relationship with him and the congregation. Various circumstances and the strain in the relationship caused Paul to revisit his itinerary and postpone his promised visit.

Some of Paul's opponents, Jews who were preaching a legalistic Christianity, used the cancellation to widen the rift between Paul and the Corinthians. They portrayed Paul as unreliable and fickle and sowed seeds of great negativity towards Paul in the congregation.

Paul grabs the bull by the horns as he addresses the accusations, the conflict and the pain.

His starting point is the 18 months that he spent in Corinth when he planted the church. In effect he is saying: "How can you so quickly doubt me? Think back. Think about when we planted the church - how did we behave? What was the fruit of our lives? Were we not holy and sincere? Did we rely on the "gift of the gab" or "tricks of the trade" or did you experience God's grace through us? C'mon guys this isn't rocket science - you know what we were like then, and, when you see us again you'll just see more of the same and you'll want to boast about us instead of doubting us in our absence."

I have seen this scenario play itself out again and again in people's relationships. People have been friends for years and then one misunderstanding, one mistake, one voice sowing doubt and years of faithfulness are cast aside. We are so easily misled by our emotions. We are so easily offended, we are so quick to listen to other voices.

Paul's voice of quiet reason is important:
Slow down. Think! Review...
Understand what is going on...
Put it in perspective!
Be reasonable.

Our relationships would be better if we learned to do this!

Theo Groeneveld
Emmanuel Presby Church Cell: 082-5510752

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