2Make a place for us in your hearts! We haven't mistreated or hurt anyone. We haven't cheated anyone. 3I am not saying this to be hard on you. But, as I have said before, you will always be in our thoughts, whether we live or die. 4I trust you completely. I am always proud of you, and I am greatly encouraged. In all my trouble I am still very happy.
5 After we came to Macedonia, we didn't have any chance to rest. We were faced with all kinds of problems. We were troubled by enemies and troubled by fears. 6But God cheers up people in need, and this is what he did when he sent Titus to us. 7Of course, we were glad to see Titus, but what really made us glad is the way you cheered him up. He told how sorry you were and how concerned you were about me. And this made me even happier.
8I don't feel bad anymore, even though my letter hurt your feelings. I did feel bad at first, but I don't now. I know that the letter hurt you for a while. 9Now I am happy, but not because I hurt your feelings. It is because God used your hurt feelings to make you turn back to him, and none of you were harmed by us. 10When God makes you feel sorry enough to turn to him and be saved, you don't have anything to feel bad about. But when this world makes you feel sorry, it can cause your death.
11Just look what God has done by making you feel sorry! You sincerely want to prove you are innocent. You are angry. You are shocked. You are eager to see that justice is done. You have proved that you were completely right in this matter. 12When I wrote you, it wasn't to accuse the one who was wrong or to take up for the one who was hurt. I wrote, so God would show you how much you do care for us. 13And we were greatly encouraged.
Although we were encouraged, we felt even better when we saw how happy Titus was, because you had shown he had nothing to worry about. 14We had told him how much we thought of you, and you did not disappoint us. Just as we have always told you the truth, so everything we told him about you has also proved to be true. 15Titus loves all of you very much, especially when he remembers how you obeyed him and how you trembled with fear when you welcomed him. 16It makes me really glad to know I can depend on you.
Warning: Trouble WILL come when we commit to serving Christ. And we WILL make mistakes.
No one likes to make mistakes. But the reality is that we will need to be corrected from time to time. It’s how we respond that builds our character and faith.
Paul teaches that in response to our wrongdoing, there are two types of sorrow – one that leads to life and the other to death. We can
. . . either repent and turn from our mistake and seek to restore and make it right in the future, which is often the hard choice because it will involve discipline to not do it again . . .
. . . or we can wallow in regret, write off the rebuke and harden our hearts, and continue to make the same, wrong choices.
It gets even harder when we see a friend or fellow believer making wrong choices and holding them accountable to it.
Whether I’m the one needing to change my ways or the one pointing out an error to another, correction and repentance can be powerful tools of encouragement. They build spiritual muscles as we seek to serve the Lord by being faithful to do what pleases him.
God, forgive us when we fail to heed correction. Bolster our faith in your mightiness. Give us boldness to recognize what we need to repent and turn from, and wisdom to encourage others who need godly correction in their lives. We trust in you alone. May our deep faith convict us to speak and act for your honor and glory today. Amen.