Reading: 2 Corinthians 13: 11-13
Verse 11: Aim for perfection… be of one mind… live in peace.
Paul writes to the church in Corinth to urge unity and cooperation and love in the church. The church there is struggling with doing these things. At times all churches, being filled with human beings with human egos and desires, can have some varied opinions and thoughts. In Corinth, this has apparently gone beyond the typical disagreement over the carpet color. Factions have been created and sides have been drawn up. This can be an occurrence in today’s churches as well.
Paul’s words would have maybe drawn the same reactions today as I imagine they did back then. First it was: who us? We are getting along fine! Then it was: get along with who? Love who? You’ve got to be kidding. Paul clearly just did not understand how wrong “they” were. Sometimes, and especially in the midst of conflict, it can be hard to give any ground or to begin to see the other side’s perspective. But Paul is looking past the conflict to the bigger picture. The church was not modeling the love of Christ to one another or to the people outside the church. Worship as the one body of Christ was no longer occurring. Times were tough.
Into this Paul writes, “aim for perfection”. He does not mean for their opinion or argument to be perfect – he is calling them to be like Jesus Christ. He was perfect in His love. Paul is calling them to be like Christ. He goes on to call them to “be of one mind”. Take on the mind of Christ. Love and see as Jesus loved and saw the world. Lastly, also in verse 11, Paul calls on the church in Corinth to “live in peace”. As Jesus was leaving this earth, He said to the disciples, “Peace be with you”. In the midst of all they would face, Jesus offered them His peace – the peace that passes understanding. This is the peace Paul is calling the church to live into.
Paul’s advice is good in conflict as well as in day to day life. This day, may we each “aim for perfection… be of one mind… live in peace”.b