September 4 - The Harsh Truth Can Be a Blessing

By Terra Hangen

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 7:8-16

Central Thought: A stern rebuke is always painful to hear (or to give), yet it can put a person back on the right Christian path.

    Paul wrote harsh and true admonitions to the Christian community in Corinth, rebuking them for their bad behavior and bickering. When he realized how devastated they were by his rebuke, he felt a rush of genuine regret for his words. Yet these Christians acted upon their grief and guilt in a totally constructive way, and they dramatically improved their behavior, forming a loving community.

    In 2 Corinthians Paul expressed his joy at how his severe words had caused them to turn toward God. He decided that he really no longer regretted his sharp honesty, since everything that drives people toward God is beneficial. In this way Paul was one of the first men to practice what we now call 'tough love,” and with joyful results.

Devotional Prayer: Dear Father, let me be honest with people in giving and accepting rebukes, with the goal of moving toward God and helping others also move in the right direction.

Today's Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 7:1-9:18; 2 Corinthians 7:8-16; Psalm 48:1-14; Proverbs 22:17-19