“I made up my mind not to come to you again to make you sad”.
2 Cor 2:1 GNB
Many years ago there was a comedy programme on the radio. In it every actor had a “signature line”. One man used to come in every week and announce, “Borss, borss, sump’n terrible’s happened”. Well something bad had happened in Corinth and we are not told precisely what it was. It appears that it might have been a big mistake by one person, but it caused tensions between Paul and the friends or relations of the individual concerned. Whatever, Paul deemed it wise to postpone his intended visit to them. He reckoned that had he gone it would have increased tensions, and he didn’t want that. When feelings are running high it is often wise for the people on opposite sides of the conflict to have a “cooling off” period. In this way they can think about things, assess where they themselves have gone wrong, and how they can take steps to promote better understanding.
Relationships can become strained in churches to this day. The minister and the leading office-bearers can find themselves not seeing eye-to-eye. The women’s fellowship can feel they are bearing too much of the fund-raising burden – or not being given a big enough say. The music team can have their gripes, and so on. Those who have the gift of wisdom – there are usually some! – need to work and discuss with the affected groups what went wrong. Probably they also need to follow Paul’s example and spend some time “cooling off”. Inter-personal relationships can also get fractious and need some repair. It is important, and mature and Christ-like to get the disputants to talk to a third party and for that person to try to bring the parties together.
Lord, help your disciples to work through strained relationships.