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You see, I settled it in my mind that I wouldn’t make you another sad visit. After all, if I make you sad, who is there to cheer me up except the one who is sad because of me? And I wrote what I did so that I wouldn’t come and find sadness where I should have found joy. I have this confidence about all of you, that my joy belongs to all of you. No: I wrote to you in floods of tears, out of great trouble and anguish in my heart, not so that I could make you sad but so that you would know just how much overflowing love I have towards you.

Time to Forgive

But if anyone has caused sadness, it isn’t me that he has saddened, but, in a measure (I don’t want to emphasize this too much), all of you. The punishment that the majority has imposed is quite enough; what’s needed now is rather that you should forgive and console him, in case someone like that might be swallowed up by such abundant sorrow. Let me urge you, then, to reaffirm your love for him.

The reason I wrote to you, you see, was in order to know whether you would pass the test and be obedient in everything. 10 If you forgive anyone anything, so do I; and whatever I have forgiven – if indeed I have forgiven anyone anything! – it’s all happened under the eyes of the Messiah, and for your own sake. 11 The point is that we shouldn’t be outsmarted by the satan. We know what he’s up to!

The Smell of Life, the Smell of Death

12 However, when I came to Troas to announce the Messiah’s gospel, and found an open door waiting for me in the Lord, 13 I couldn’t get any quietness in my spirit because I didn’t find my brother Titus there. So I left them and went off to Macedonia.

14 But thanks be to God – the God who always leads us in his triumphal procession in the Messiah, and through us reveals everywhere the sweet smell of knowing him. 15 We are the Messiah’s fragrance before God, you see, to those who are being saved and to those who are being lost. 16 To the latter, it’s a smell which comes from death and leads to death; but to the former it’s the smell of life which leads to life.

Who can rise to this challenge? 17 We aren’t mere pedlars of God’s word, as so many people are. We speak with sincerity; we speak from God; we speak in God’s presence; we speak in the Messiah.

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