This is the third time I am coming to you. ‘Any charge must be sustained by the evidence of two or three witnesses.’ I warned those who sinned previously and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again, I will not be lenient— since you desire proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful in you. For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.
Reflection – Past Caring!
Do you ever feel people are past caring for you? Maybe even God has given up on you. Despite continued bad behaviour by his friends in Corinth, Paul hadn’t given up on them, and nor had God. Paul is remembering his times with them, living with them, teaching, correcting their ways. Yes, he knows how the church has grown in faith and loving ways, but also that problems continue. He cares so much, and so stresses that he will need to show the tough and challenging love of God to ensure they don’t fall back into bad habits, and need instead ‘discipline’ to build strong their community of faith.
Leaving a job, moving house, both of which we shall be doing soon; writing letters as Paul did, or meeting up with old friends are times to reflect on the past we’ve had together, and since we’ve been apart. This can hurt, as we are reminded of the shame of failures, regret of wrong choices, guilt of bad behaviour, fallings out, disappointments, and even if the past was wonderful, then feeling ‘where has it all gone’? In all this brokenness and weakness – and there was plenty in Corinth, Paul shows how God helps us deal with our past, if only we can look further back in the past to what God has already done for us in Jesus crucified. The power of God’s love that took Jesus to the cross, faced and conquered death is now at work in us to deal with all these things. This is God-power, the toughest of Love that knows no boundaries, nor limitations, and so can heal and restore all people and relationships. God isn’t past caring for you. God cares for your past so much and offers now God-power to heal you and restore your life.
Dear Lord I am weak but Thou art strong keep me from all wrong I’ll be satisfied as long As I walk close to Thee
Thru this world of toils and snares If I falter who cares? Who with me the burden shares? None but Thee, dear Lord.
Just a closer walk with Thee Grant it, Jesus, if you please Daily walking close to Thee Let it be, dear Lord, let it be (Adapted)
The Rev’d Kevin Watson, Moderator of the Yorkshire Synod