2 Corinthians 7:2–12 (NKJV)
2 Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.2 Corinthians 7:2-12
5 For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. 6 Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.
8 For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. 9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 12 Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.
Paul takes an opportunity to revisit the situation he described in chapter two. A man had opposed Paul, and he sent a “severe letter” by Titus to instruct them on how they should handle this man. His additional reference to Titus a bit later establishes his ongoing relationship with Titus as a fellow worker in Asia Minor with Paul. Titus gave Paul a report on how the Corinthians responded to his sever letter by being contrite and repentant. They took Paul’s instruction by disciplining the offender, and the situation was resolved. You may recall that Paul instructed them also in chapter two to receive the man back into their fellowship. His attitude had changed and he was again useful to the body of Christ at Corinth. Yet, there seem to still be some who question Paul, some leftover vestiges of a minority opinion that Paul either was inept or immoral, or else was taking money wrongfully.
Paul addresses the claims with quick statements about his integrity, ability, and honesty in verse two: “We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one.” He speaks of his love for the people at Corinth and his willingness, even joy, in suffering tribulations on their behalf. He relates how Titus comforted them with his report of their mourning and desire to support and defend the apostle Paul. He then addresses the previous “severe letter” again, which was also the object of discussion in chapter two, and offers no apology for the directness and severity of the letter. He does not regret making them sorry, because that temporary sorrow effected a great repentance and resolution to a potentially pervasive rebellion. He contends that his harsh rebuke and instructions were not for the sake of the offender nor for the sake of the writer (Paul), but that the church may be instructed in righteous acts relating to offense in the church.
The correction was for the good of the church, and the church passed the test with flying colors! Paul is proud of their response, and because of it is looking forward to coming to them himself to rejoice with them and instruct them further in righteousness. Paul will continue to defend his office as apostle and overseer of the churches he planted. He will continue to offer them fatherly advice and instruction. His care for them went far beyond establishing and setting forth their various congregations. Instead, Paul’s considers himself the pastor from a distance. He is the protector of their spiritual well-being, a father to each church body. His example is one for overseers and leaders of groups of churches or even denominations to follow. Love, lead, correct, and comfort. These are the actions of a leader.