we have spoken freely to you, corinthians; our heart is wide open. [2 corinthians 6:11]
paul loved the people in the corinthian church with the love of Christ. he showed them this love, as he says here, in two unique ways.
first, “we have spoken freely to you.” literally, our mouth is open to you. what did he mean? he meant: he was open with them. he had shared his struggles, joys, failures, successes, pressures, problems, and … he let them know how he coped with them. that is always a mark of love. to open up to others is to love them with the love of Christ. conversely, to close up and not communicate is not the love of Christ.
this is a frequent problem in the body of Christ today. let’s make it personal and not just talk generally about sin in the church. you and i often think it is right for us to be closed in on ourselves, to be private people, unwilling to communicate who we are and how we feel and where we are in our lives. that, as paul has pointed out, is the love of the world, not the love of Christ. the world teaches us to let no one see who we are. we think, “if they really knew us, they wouldn’t accept us.” but the gospel says, in Christ we are fully accepted (eph 1:4) before God, so we can risk loving others with our full selves. we can be open, knowing their rejection does not define us. God’s complete acceptance of us in Christ defines us. in this love, we can and must learn to open up to one another – “to speak freely.”
second, “our heart is wide open.” he meant there was no favoritism. he did not merely love the nice people, the lovely ones, or those who were like him. he loved them all: the difficult ones, the ones who were struggling, and the hard-to-get-along-with ones as well. there were no preconditions that he demanded before he would love someone either. he accepted fully as God accepted him in Christ. this did not mean he stopped calling for them to grow and be changed into the image of God. no, he continued to push, even here as he calls them to love more fully. but, they knew, paul loved them with kindness and truth, with mercy and grace, and with boldness and humility.
today, let’s not let the world define our love. let’s not let the world define if we will risk love. today, because Jesus risked it all, we can love defined by the One who loves us fully. today, let’s love with the love of Christ!
father, help me to love others with an open mouth and heart. and, help me respond with an open mouth and heart to those who have reached out to me in love. thank you for the love you have shown me in Christ, that is so much more than an example. your love lives in me, pursues me, and accepts me as your son / daughter. move in me and through me today with your love! in Jesus name, amen.