11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. 12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us.
Paul and his companions demonstrated his love for the people in Corinth by 1) communicating, speaking out, sharing 2) by opening wide their hearts – showing love to all, unreservedly. Paul goes on in verse 13 to tell them, as a fair exchange, to open wide their hearts also.
Vulnerability and Reciprocity: 2 key ingredients in loving and caring relationships.
If we believe that being part of a Christian community plays an important role in us being transformed to the likeness of Christ, and it’s not just a place where we can feel included (think of communities formed around a similar hobby or interest, like: food, public speaking, workout…), vulnerability and reciprocity are non-negotiables.
The word “withholding” in the original Greek meant “to be made narrow, to compress”. Paul tells them to open wide their hearts, to let it go (cue Frozen’s “Let it go”! Just kidding. Don’t). Whatever reason was holding them back, whether to feel protected or indifference, that meant they were limited, restricted by their own selves. To be able to receive the fullness of love they needed to respond, to love back.
Whenever I think of vulnerability, this quote from C.S. Lewis comes to mind:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
Thoughts for the day
- Have you been taking the love from the Body of Christ for granted?
- Are there other believers that you can honestly say you’ve been communicating and been giving your affections unreservedly?
(If you are not sharing life with other Christians, we encourage you to get connected – one of the ways is to join a SCF Community Group! You can check our website for the list of groups available, https://shanghaifellowship.
Invite the Holy Spirit to show you something to rejoice over. Look beyond your current circumstances to the Lord of all Creation. Remember that you are fully, unconditionally loved. Take time to rejoice in the goodness of the God who has saved you.