For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it — though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. (2 Corinthians 7)
True love for our brothers and sisters in Christ will sometimes require confrontation. In addressing some sinful behavior evident among the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul decided to make a “painful visit” to Corinth in order show some tough love and speak hard truth that might help correct what was wrong with their actions. He then followed up that visit with another letter full of personal anguish and passionate tears hoping to reconcile his relationship with the Corinthians and their relationship with Christ.
Although this couldn’t have been an easy or pleasurable thing for Paul to do, he does what is difficult for the ultimate good of the Corinthian believers and for the integrity of Christ’s name. True love will sometimes require the painful process of delivering and declaring some hard truth.
Do we sometimes find ourselves so concerned about being loved by others that we fail to truly love them like they need to be loved? Do we prefer keeping relationships at a surface level in order to avoid the deeper levels that might force us to deal with difficulties?
Sometimes we may have to grieve those we love if it means leading them to repentance.
Paul’s true love and hard truth led many of the Corinthians to experience remorse for their sinfulness, and they resolved to reverse their behavior and conduct in order to live a life that lined up with the implications of the gospel. Paul was willing to risk his relationship with the Corinthians for their ultimate good, and in doing so, he led many to some much needed repentance.
Although it will be uncomfortable and often difficult, lets make every effort to love our brothers and sisters in Christ with a true love that’s not afraid to tell some hard truth. May we love our brothers and sisters with a deeper kind of love that is willing to endure confrontation for their ultimate good and for the glory of God's name.