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Religion Gone Wrong

If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven--if there was anything to forgive--I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. 2 Corinthians 2:10-11

I have often quoted an anonymous rhyme that perfectly describes one of the most frequent problems we have as the people of God:

To live above with saints we love, will certainly be glory!

To live below with saints we know, well, that's another story!

One of the members of the Corinthian church caused Paul a great deal of pain. We are not sure if this is the same man Paul wrote about in l Corinthians 5, the man who was living in open fornication, or if it was another person, someone who publicly challenged Paul's apostolic authority. Paul had made a quick visit to Corinth to deal with this problem (see 12:14; 13:1) and had also written a painful letter to the church about the situation. In all of this, he revealed a compassionate heart.

Paul could have exercised his apostolic authority and commanded the people to respect him and obey him, but he preferred to minister with patience and love. Love always considers the feelings of others and seeks to put their good ahead of everything else.

When I was a child, I didn't always appreciate the punishment that my parents gave me. But now that I look back, I can thank God that they loved me enough to discipline me. Now I understand what they really meant when they said, "This hurts us more than it hurts you."

Applying God's Truth

  1. When people offend you, are you quick to "reveal a compassionate heart"? If not, what is your usual course of action?

  2. On a scale of 1 (least) to 10 (most), how much of each of the following qualities do you normally exhibit in a conflict situation: Love? Patience? Logic? Force? Empathy?

  3. How do you think Satan tends to work through our personal conflicts?

Devotions for Encouragement and Maturity. ©2005 by Dr. Warren Wiersbe. Used by permission of David C Cook. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

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