07 Paul’s Pastoral Prudence, Purpose and Pain

2 Corinthians 2v1-4

For I made up my mind not to make another painful visit to you. For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you. (ESV)

Consider Paul’s:

  1. Pastoral Prudence (v1-3): Prudence (right thinking in action) has two components: thoughtfulness and tenderness. Paul had these qualities which every shepherd should have.
    a) Paul’s thoughtfulness (v1):
    He had made up his mind. He thought, pained, and prayed about the issues facing the church. A visit from Paul at that time would have been painful because of the sins of the church, which included divisions (lack of unity), immorality and challenges to his authority. Paul faced all these concerns and carefully considered them. Paul’s interest in the church were Godly, noble and Apostolic. See Philippians 2v4.
    b) Paul’s tenderness (v1):
    He intended not to make another painful visit. It was not a sign of cowardice but of fortitude and tenderness (see 2 Corinthians 2v4-6, Ephesians 4).
    c) Ultimately there is a Postponement of Judgement.

  2. Pastoral purpose (v3): where does Paul’s joy come from?
    a) Paul’s Pursuit of joy:
    His joy comes from the work of Christ’s redemption of God’s people. Paul looked at God’s people for joy (Phil 4v1).
    b) Frailty of Paul’s joy:
    Paul wanted to see their joy and that’s why he wasn’t going to travel through to visit the church.
  3. Pastoral Pain (v4):
    a) The Proof of Justice:
    Paul is just (which means giving to God and our fellow man – including our enemy – what is their due), loving his God and his neighbour.
    b) The Pain of Paul’s Love:
    Paul mentioned his affliction of heart and his anguish.
    c) Proof of Paul’s love:
    Paul wanted them to know of his abundant love for them (see 1 Thessalonians 2v8).

In the Apostle Paul, we see a shepherd’s heart for the church at Corinth.