Summary: A life that can change lives is a life that has been reconciled to God in Christ, and who has reconciled relationships with others.
2 Corinthians 6:1-13 “A Life Changing Life”
Sexy, fashion-conscious blue-haired beauty,
80's, slim, 5'4' (used to be 5'6'),
searching for sharp-looking, sharp-dressing companion.
Matching white shoes and belt a plus.
BEATLES OR STONES?
I still like to rock, still like to cruise in my Camaro on
Saturday nights and still like to play the guitar.
If you were a groovy chick, or are now a groovy hen,
let's get together and listen to my eight-track tapes.
I can usually remember Monday through Thursday.
If you can remember Friday, Saturday and Sunday, let's put our two
No matter what our age, or our situation in life. We are people who crave relationships. We have been created for relationships—with God and with each other. In this passage where Paul figuratively spills his guts, we learn a lot about relationships—how important they are and how they change our lives.
In order to fully understand what Paul is trying to communicate to his Corinthian readers, it is necessary for us to verse 18. For Paul, human relationships are based on our relationship with God and what God has done to reconcile us to himself. Paul writes, “All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” This ministry of reconciliation is both to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others, and to be reconciled to the people around us.
The topic of reconciliation is important to Paul because his relationship with the Corinthian Christians has been frayed. There have many critics who say that Paul really isn’t an apostle—at least not like Peter or James. Paul has also had to speak harshly to the Corinthians because several of their community actions do not reflect the gospel message.
Paul wants to be reconciled with the Corinthians. Broken relationships do not reflect what God wants for his people. Relationships are important and our relationships with each other reflect our relationship with God.
I wonder what value we place on relationships. It seems that so often we are willing to let them slide. Rather than seek healing, we satisfy ourselves with brokenness and pain. Relationships are life changing only when they are valuable to us.
Paul doesn’t just say that relationships are valuable to him he backs up his words with actions. In verse four, he begins a long list of what he has endured in order to develop relationships with the Corinthians and with others. Paul also claims that he has live righteously. In other words, Paul is a man of integrity.
Integrity builds trust, and trust builds relationships. Paul is a “what you see is what you get” kind of guy. In his dealings with the Corinthians he has gone far beyond meeting them half way.
I have to shake my head when I think of what we do in relationships compared to what Paul did. There are times when we have trouble picking up the phone, or writing an email. When offended we often travel the path of least resistance and avoid the person. In our very worst moments we trash talk the other person.
Paul understood that if people are going to encounter Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and respond to his love and grace it will probably be because of relationships with others who have done so. Wishing to be faithfully obedient to God’s call, and to be people of integrity, we are compelled to build and rebuild relationships with others.
Paul allows himself to be very vulnerable to the Corinthians. In verse 11 he writes, “Our heart is wide open to you.” Paul is willing to be rejected in order that there might be the possibility of reconciliation.
Paul’s action mirrors the actions of God. God risked rejection by taking on human form and becoming one of us. But, God was willing to take the risk in order that the possibility of reconciliation might be present. The response that Paul is seeking is to have the Corinthians open their hearts to him, also.
It is difficult for us to be vulnerable. Our reluctance to be vulnerable can put a strain on our relationships, or make them difficult to sustain. We usually want to be perceived as strong and independent; not really needed relationships. Relationships are “give and take,” however. As forgiven people, we must allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to ask for forgiveness and to give forgiveness.
Life is too short to simply coast. And, life is too short to be alone. With open hearts, going the extra mile, and valuing the gift of relationships we can make a difference. We can change other people’s lives for the better. And, we can be changed, too.