2 Corinthians 2:5-11
When it came to being punished for something, many of us have heard a parent say, “This is going to hurt me more than it does you.” I always wanted to scream, “No, it’s not!”
What I didn’t understand was how my actions affected others, including those who loved me most. What we do matters, not only personally, but to the larger community as well.
We try to pretend that our lives can be self-contained. As life gets more complicated, we may be tempted to think that narrowing our circle of friends to those who think, look, and act like we do will make life easier.
Remembering that we are part of a larger body is tough. If I stub my toe, that pain radiates up my leg and may necessitate my bending over or sitting down until the pain subsides. If I burn my finger, it may be days before I can use my hand as effectively as before.
We always work, live, speak, and act within a larger context. What we do and say ripples throughout the body, and this is the point Paul is trying to make. Instead of getting rid of the stubbed toe or removing the burned finger, we console those parts of our body until the pain eases, then goes away. If we can do this for the finger or toe, how much more should we do this for the human beings who are part of our world?
When was the last time you cut off a member of your community instead of caring for that relationship until the painful tension eases, then goes away?
God who makes a way, help us kindly forgive those who offend us instead of removing them from our presence. Thank you for your grace and mercy that nurtures rather than removes us when we offend you. Amen.