Reaffirm Your Love
1But I made up my mind not to grieve you with another painful visit. 2 For if I cause you grief [by a well-deserved rebuke], who then provides me enjoyment but the very one whom I have made sad? 3 And I [a]wrote this same thing to you, so that when I came, I would not be filled with sorrow by those who ought to make me glad, for I trusted in you and felt confident that my joy would be shared by all of you. 4 For I wrote to you out of great distress and with an anguished heart, and with many tears, not to cause you sorrow but to make you realize the [overflowing] love which I have especially for you.
5 But if [b]someone has caused [all this] sorrow, he has caused it not to me, but in some degree—not to put it too severely—[he has distressed and grieved] all of you. 6 For such a one this punishment by the majority is sufficient, 7 so instead [of further rebuke, now] you should rather [graciously] forgive and comfort and encourage him, to keep him from being overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 Therefore I urge you to reinstate him in your affections and reaffirm your [c]love for him. 9 For this was my purpose in writing, to see if you would stand the test, whether you are obedient and committed to following my instruction in all things. 10 If you forgive anyone anything, I too forgive [that one]; and what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of [and with the approval of] Christ, 11 to keep Satan from taking advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.
12 Now when I arrived at Troas to preach the good news of Christ, even though a door [of opportunity] opened for me in the Lord, 13 my spirit could not rest because I did not find my brother Titus there; so saying goodbye to them, I left for Macedonia.
14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him. 15 For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which ascends] to God, [discernible both] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the latter one an aroma from death to death [a fatal, offensive odor], but to the other an aroma from life to life [a vital fragrance, living and fresh]. And who is adequate and sufficiently qualified for these things? 17 For we are not like many, [acting like merchants] peddling God’s word [shortchanging and adulterating God’s message]; but from pure [uncompromised] motives, as [commissioned and sent] from God, we speak [His message] in Christ in the sight of God.