“For when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest—but we were troubled on every side: Without were fightings, within were fears; nevertheless God, Who comforts those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus—and not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me so that I rejoiced the more.”
II Corinthians 7:5-7
When our physical body’s healthy, we feel good all over; when it’s weak and hurting, we hurt all over—and so it is with the Body of Christ.
One thing you must admire about Paul’s writings to the Corinthian Christians is his transparency and straightforwardness. No one could ever accuse him of pulling his punches or beating-around-the-bush when addressing a need in his fellow believers; yet, his words and writings were always a fulfillment of the admonition to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). . . for the edification (raising up) of the Body (I Cor. 14:12, 26; II Cor. 12:19; Eph. 4:12, 16, 29) . . . so, like Christ, there’d be no “double-talk” in what he said and did (II Cor. 1:18-20; James 5:12).
Although some confuse hasty, judgmental criticism with “words fitly spoken” (Prov. 25:11), words of encouragement and comfort are always in order. And, in the case of today’s Manna, it was Titus’ arrival and the good news of the Corinthian Christians’ “earnest desire, mourning over what had been happening to him and fervent mind (zeal, warm affection) toward him that caused him to rejoice the more.”
Oh, dear Pilgrim, too often we are quick to point out others’ faults rather than “building them up in their holy faith” (Acts 20:32; Jude 20). Instead of encouraging and supporting them as Barnabas did Paul after his conversion (Acts 9:27), we do great damage to others and God’s Kingdom work by unguarded words, barbed comments, gossip, backbiting, etc.
That’s why it’s so important that we be “slow to anger, slow to speak and quick to forgive/ intercede” (Prov. 14:29; 16:32; James 1:19). Paul had really “been through it” because of his “troubles on every side,” which were compounded by “fightings without and fears within.” And, the same is true today.
Doesn’t it seem at times that the Morton’s Salt Syndrome (“When it rains, it pours”) is still alive-and-well? Aren’t there times when “all hell breaks loose” on you and you’re “buffeted i.e., beaten to a pulp” on every hand (I Cor. 4:11), making you want to wave the white flag or commit murder?
Assuredly there are.
Thus, we should always seem to be a Titus to the Pauls around us. When we see someone struggling and going through a rough time, we should “comfort them with the comfort with which we’ve been comforted by God” (cf. II Cor. 1:3-4). This shouldn’t be a condescending, patronizing “Well, I went through that and got the victory; why can’t you?” attitude; instead, it should be a “meek-and-lowly” approach whereby we say “You’re not alone right now, Beloved; one time I was going through similar and Jesus helped me and He’ll help you, too.”
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated September 8, 2010