“O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open” (2 Corinthians 6.11-13 NKJV).
Paul is admonishing and encouraging the church in Corinth in his letter. He is acting very much like a father to these people, correcting and guiding them. Paul is being honest about his own difficulty, and he’s demonstrating a great love for the people of Corinth, which includes offering both discipline and mercy. It would be easy for someone to get offended by Paul’s letter. Pride (including arrogance and insecurity) can keep people from receiving Paul’s words, but Paul has invested greatly into this church, and his words match up with his actions. He implores the people to not get offended but to “be open,” as he is open to them. It is very difficult to receive correction from people, but we must pull away from the finite moment and examine if the correction is coming from someone who has demonstrated his/her love to us in words and actions. Usually, admonishing someone is not fun. It’s honestly easier just to look the other way. However, if the person really cares, he/she will take the time to offer guidance. We can swallow our pride and keep our hearts open if the guidance is coming from someone who has a history of investing into our lives. Rather than building a wall in our hearts, we can receive the correction openly and allow God to take our pain and fill us with His peace.
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12.11 ESV).