Art Toombs Ministries 

Online Bible Commentary

Showing Love

2 Corinthians 2:1 So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you.2 For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? 3 I wrote as I did, so that when I came I would not be distressed by those who should have made me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. 4 For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you. (NIV) 

Paul is writing to the church at Corinth. He says he is writing so that he does not make “another painful visit” to the church. On his previous visit he had to deal with a discipline matter, which was leading to sin within the church. He had to rebuke those in the church. He says here that he did not like having to rebuke them, for it grieved them and in turn “distressed” him when he would rather “rejoice.” 

It is obvious that Paul is more concerned about their sins than the people themselves, and so Paul is writing, instead of visiting, in the hope that the people will turn from their sin before his next visit. He clearly wishes his next visit to be a good visit. Paul completes this passage by telling them that he rebukes them out of “great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.” 

Nobody enjoys bringing the hard messages, the messages that need to be heard. But if Christians don’t stand up and speak for God, who will? This is a message that is badly needed in our society today. People do not want to hear about their sin. No one does. We would all rather go about our lives not having to think about sin. We get upset when someone confronts us about our sin. 

Even when we are guilty of sin, we don’t want to be told about it. We get offended, and lash out with “who are you to judge me when you also sin.” However, Christians are called to rebuke those in sin, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training” (2 Timothy 3:16). 

Christians are to love the sinner, but hate the sin. As an example, suppose I was afraid that I had cancer and went to the doctor who discovered that I did, but did not tell me. Then I went for a second opinion and that doctor told me. Which doctor loved me, the one who said nothing and would let me die, or the one who told me so that I could possibly be healed? When we point out someone’s sin, we are the second doctor. We love that person enough to help them repent of their sin and be saved. On the other hand, when we support someone in their sin, we enable them to continue down that road to destruction. We are being that first doctor. 

During His stay on earth, Jesus loved people so much that He pointed out sin when He saw it. God loves us so much that he makes us pay the consequences of our sin. It is never love to let someone continue in sin without saying something, and it is a sin to support or promote them in their sin. 

As Christians, we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves, and we should love our country. That is why we should continue to point out sin when we see it. Just like cancer, sin will cause the loss of life (eternal) and it will cause the loss of our country. So where do you stand? I challenge you to examine your thinking on this subject. I pray that you will confront sin, even if you ruffle a few feathers. That is how you show love for others.