Speaking to the Soul – February 7

Open your heart

Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us! 2 Corinthians 6:11-13

It is possible for our relationship with other people to be incredibly superficial. Our words can often be a way of pushing other people away rather than revealing anything significant about ourselves. A friendly, smiling face and a warm greeting can easily be used to mask deep sadness and confusion. This happens in churches as easily as anywhere else. We can skate over the surface without ever really getting to know one another.

Paul, in typically robust style, pierces through such superficiality and says exactly what he thinks! He has opened his heart to the Corinthians, and they have done exactly the opposite to him. He appeals to them as if they were his children. Paul established the church in Corinth, so it isn’t surprising that he looked at them with a father’s love, and is desperate to have a close relationship with them.

It’s so important for us to have people with whom we can open our hearts. This is what true fellowship is all about. It is only as we get to know one another deeply that we can truly live as the body of Christ, giving and receiving love and spiritual gifts. Being vulnerable in this way isn’t easy but there is no other way to discover strong and vibrant relationships.

Behind Paul’s words there is very clearly a sense of hurt. He loves the Corinthians so much that he longs to receive their love in return. His honest words are a helpful reminder that churches are not made up of perfect people. At times, fellowship can be agonisingly disappointing. But, like Paul, we need to go on loving people and longing for our Christian brothers and sisters to open their hearts to us and one another.

With whom are you able to open your heart?

Loving Lord, thank you that you have opened your heart to us. Help me to be increasingly willing to open my heart to my Christian brothers and sisters. Amen