Who is one person in your life that you receive or have received a compliment from, that made you proud? As I read this passage of 2 Corinthians, I cannot help but imagine the pride and encouragement the church felt when reading this portion of his letter. In 2 Corinthians 7:2-9, we read, “Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn-fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. 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.” Wow! Now I know that was a lot of verses, however, I do not think we can ever have too many verses from God’s Word! In this passage, I love how Paul begins saying that he has “great pride” in the believers in this church. Two words, that as I read them, I can imagine the faces of the believers as they hear about how Paul feels and thinks of them.
As we read on in this passage, we find out why Paul had this great pride. First, it is because of the comfort Titus received from the believers in Corinth when he came to them. He was accepted and what Paul told him would happen, happened. Secondly, his pride was felt because of the repentance of the believers and their faith in Christ. Paul writes of the believers in regards to their “godly grief” in 2 Corinthians 7:10, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” Paul truly had great pride in the believers because they heard the Gospel, experienced repentance, and confessed Christ as their Savior. As someone who is on staff at a church, but more importantly someone who has experienced the life-changing love of Christ, there is nothing greater than seeing someone accept and experience the love and life-giving forgiveness of Christ! I hope that when you hear of someone confessing Christ or you are part of leading someone to the Lord, you too experience great pride and joy as Paul did!