So I said to myself, "No, I won't do it. I won't make them unhappy with another painful visit."
For if I cause you pain and make you sad, who is going to make me glad?
That is why I wrote as I did in my last letter, so that when I do come, I will not be made sad by the very ones who ought to give me the greatest joy. Surely you know that my happiness depends on your happiness.
How painful it was to write that letter! Heartbroken, I cried over it. I didn't want to hurt you, but I wanted you to know how very much I love you.
I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt your entire church more than he hurt me.
He was punished enough when most of you were united in your judgment against him.
Now it is time to forgive him and comfort him. Otherwise he may become so discouraged that he won't be able to recover.
Now show him that you still love him.
I wrote to you as I did to find out how far you would go in obeying me.
When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive him (for whatever is to be forgiven), I do so with Christ's authority for your benefit,
so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are very familiar with his evil schemes.
Well, when I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord gave me tremendous opportunities.
But I couldn't rest because my dear brother Titus hadn't yet arrived with a report from you. So I said good-bye and went on to Macedonia to find him.
But thanks be to God, who made us his captives and leads us along in Christ's triumphal procession. Now wherever we go he uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Good News like a sweet perfume.
Our lives are a fragrance presented by Christ to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those being saved and by those perishing.
To those who are perishing we are a fearful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?
You see, we are not like those hucksters -- and there are many of them -- who preach just to make money. We preach God's message with sincerity and with Christ's authority. And we know that the God who sent us is watching us.