The word of the day is “confidence.” Love creates relationship. But the loving bond between us grows in the fertile soil of trust. Paul affirms this insight in today’s reading of 2 Corinthians 7:10-16. Paul has changed his feelings toward his congregation in Corinth. He writes, “Therefore I rejoice that I have confidence in you in everything” (vs. 16).
The Greek word for “confidence” is a form of the word meaning “to show boldness” (Strong’s #2292). That is, the apostle is now encouraged, heartened, and emboldened in his relationship with the Corinthians. These feelings of secure affection toward another depend on mutual trust. In a relationship of fidelity, no one needs to be hesitant, uncertain, and guarded–that is, distrustful. But those who are confident of each other’s faithfulness are free to depend on each other’s constancy.
Paul Had Opened His Heart
What had happened for St. Paul to delight in his new rapport with the Corinthians? Their conflicts, accusations, and challenges to authority had driven a wedge of mistrust between the apostle and the members of the church. But as their spiritual father, St. Paul had not only corrected them. He had opened his heart to them. His expression of grief had shown the depth of his care for them. And, by the mercy of God, the Corinthians responded in kind. By the sharing of mutual sorrow between Paul and his flock, they repaired the bonds of trust between them.
We learn from Paul that mutual trust is the key to building and restoring relationships. When trust is broken, so is the relationship. But self-giving love, breaks through the breach of trust to invite the restoration of the relationship. This agape love is the kind that the Lord showed on the cross. He took on Himself the brokenness of our relationship with God. He showed His absolute faithfulness to those who had been unfaithful. And by that selfless act of divine love, He called us to love Him in return.
Likewise, Paul opened His heart to his disloyal flock. His self-giving love expressed in his deep sorrow over the Corinthians was an invitation to them to be reconciled to God and to Him as God’s servant.
Empowered By Love
The Spirit of Christ empowers us do something that seems against human nature. We are to love even our enemies. We are to take the first step of repairing the rupture between us and those who are hostile to us. And that initiative is to act in loving trust toward those who oppose us.