Daily D – 2 Corinthians 7:4
I have the highest confidence in you, and I take great pride in you. You have greatly encouraged me and made me happy despite all our troubles. 2 CORINTHIANS 7:4 (NLT)
Just as hurt people hurt people, easily offended people easily offend people.
The Gifted and Talented Church was one you might also call High Maintenance. Read 1 and 2 Corinthians all the way through in one sitting sometime. Those people seemed to specialize in the dramatic. Since some of them thought they were smarter than God (1 Corinthians 1-4), they tended to run ahead before a proper path was marked off for them. Their best exercise was jumping to conclusions. Paul made it clear to them that intelligence and enthusiasm were nothing compared to wisdom and power (1 Corinthians 1:20ff.; 4:20).
Paul’s patience with this church was remarkable and exemplary. For all the problems they had, for everything Paul had to correct, he remained delighted in who they were becoming in Christ. Listen to what he says: “I have the highest confidence in you.” How? I would have thrown in the towel a long time ago. Paul expected problems. If we were to summarize his philosophy in working with this church full of recently former pagans, it might be, “Why should we be surprised when sinners sin?”
As you read 1 Corinthians, you notice how he addresses a list of issues presented to him by some of the members. Rather than throw his hands up and consider them irredeemable, he clearly defined the problem and just as clearly provided God’s solution. This church, to its credit, kept making course corrections. Some were easier than others. Some took more time. Some solutions hurt feelings and made continuing relationships challenging.
Paul said, “I take great pride in you.” He looked not at the starting place, and not at their current status, but at their trajectory. They were on the right path. He did not expect perfection. He applauded progress.
“You have greatly encouraged me,” Paul said. More meaningful progress delights pastors, parents, and teachers. He said, you have “made me happy despite our troubles.” Paul did not allow problems to break the relationship. He expected them. He patiently instructed wayward members regarding what was wrong and how to make corrections.
You are having problems with someone. No one gets along with everyone equally well. What if you adopted Pauls’s disposition and methodology? What would that include?
- Express confidence.
- Take delight in progress.
- Do not give up on people when they offend you.
- Speak the truth in love.
- Love without limits.
Most of all, be hard to offend. This may be the most important thing we can master in a season of pandemic, protest, and politicking.
I will be hard to offend.
Our Father, deliver me from indignation, no matter how righteous it may feel. Empower me to focus on what is right rather than what is wrong. Empower me to applaud what good behavior I discover despite the challenges. Give me such a patient and kind nature that I never give up too soon on those who push me to the limits. Amen.
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Genesis 26:26-31 Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces. 27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?”
28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the LORD was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the LORD.”
30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they went away peacefully.
Genesis 22:13, 14 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.
Genesis 21:1-3 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.
Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.
Genesis 6:9 This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.