Saturday, August 10, 2002

Getting Clobbered by the Word

As sometimes happens, a passage of the Scriptures jumps out as though one has never seen it before.

I had one of those this afternoon.

I was going through the epistles looking for passages for prayer to go with the Penitential Psalms these last few days of our very early and long Dormition Fast. [You might remember from my blogs in early June that some of us in Milwaukee were drawn to prayer and penance and offering up the pain from our little local crisis for the entire miserable national "Situation" until at least the bishops' fast and the Assumption/Dormition.]

And this one, 2 Cor 1:23-2:11, jumped out of the pages and clobbered me over the head:

By my life, I call God to witness that the reason why I did not come to Corinth after all was to spare your feelings. We are not dictators over your faith, but are fellow workers with you for your happiness; in the faith you are steady enough. Well then, I made up my mind not to pay you a second distressing visit. I may have hurt you, but if so I have hurt the only people who could give me any pleasure. I wrote as I did to make sure that, when I came, I should not be distressed by the very people who should have made me happy. I am sure you all know that I could never be happy unless you were. When I wrote to you, in deep distress and anguish of mind, and in tears, it was not to make you feel hurt but to let you know how much love I have for you.

Someone has been the cause of pain; and the cause of pain not to me, but to some degree ---- not to overstate it ---- to all of you. The punishment already imposed by the majority on the man in question is enough; and the best thing now is to give him your forgiveness and encouragement, or he might break down from so much misery. So I am asking you to give some definite proof of your love for him. What I really wrote for, after all, was to test you and see whether you are completely obedient. Anybody that you forgive, I forgive; and as for my forgiving anything ---- if there has been anything to be forgiven, I have forgiven it for your sake in the presence of Christ. And so we will not be outwitted by Satan ---- we know well enough what Satan's intentions are.

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