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“No,” I said to myself, “I won’t do it. I’ll not make them unhappy with another painful visit.” For if I make you sad, who is going to make me happy? You are the ones to do it, and how can you if I cause you pain? That is why I wrote as I did in my last letter, so that you will get things straightened out before I come.[a] Then, when I do come, I will not be made sad by the very ones who ought to give me greatest joy. I felt sure that your happiness was so bound up in mine that you would not be happy either unless I came with joy.

Oh, how I hated to write that letter! It almost broke my heart, and I tell you honestly that I cried over it. I didn’t want to hurt you, but I had to show you how very much I loved you and cared about what was happening to you.

5-6 Remember that the man I wrote about, who caused all the trouble, has not caused sorrow to me as much as to all the rest of you—though I certainly have my share in it too. I don’t want to be harder on him than I should. He has been punished enough by your united disapproval. Now it is time to forgive him and comfort him. Otherwise he may become so bitter and discouraged that he won’t be able to recover. Please show him now that you still do love him very much.

I wrote to you as I did so that I could find out how far you would go in obeying me. 10 When you forgive anyone, I do too. And whatever I have forgiven (to the extent that this affected me too) has been by Christ’s authority, and for your good. 11 A further reason for forgiveness is to keep from being outsmarted by Satan, for we know what he is trying to do.

12 Well, when I got as far as the city of Troas, the Lord gave me tremendous opportunities to preach the Gospel. 13 But Titus, my dear brother, wasn’t there to meet me and I couldn’t rest, wondering where he was and what had happened to him. So I said good-bye and went right on to Macedonia to try to find him.

14 But thanks be to God! For through what Christ has done, he has triumphed over us so that now wherever we go he uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Gospel like a sweet perfume. 15 As far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us, an aroma to both the saved and the unsaved all around us. 16 To those who are not being saved, we seem a fearful smell of death and doom, while to those who know Christ we are a life-giving perfume. But who is adequate for such a task as this? 17 Only those who, like ourselves, are men of integrity, sent by God, speaking with Christ’s power, with God’s eye upon us. We are not like those hucksters—and there are many of them—whose idea in getting out the Gospel is to make a good living out of it.


  1. 2 Corinthians 2:3 so that you will get things straightened out before I come, implied.

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