Pray for Restoration
Being right is a worthy goal. At the end of the second letter to the Corinthians, Paul encourages them to “examine, and “test themselves “to see whether you are in the faith” (13.5). There is a very real possibility that we could “fail to meet the test!” May it never be, but it very well may be! Later in that last chapter Paul sets a goal for their faith and their unity. He hopes that they will all be unified in the Truth, going so far as to say, “Your restoration is what we pray for.” (13.9b) I will not be going through the entirety of the two letters to discuss the problems of the Corinthians church, but only focusing on the restoration for which Paul, and others, are praying. Look at verse 11.
“Finally, brothers, rejoice.” Paul has just told them to examine themselves and hoping they are restored. To me rejoicing would seem a bit premature. However, for those who are striving there is reason to rejoice. For those who care to care self-examination will reveal one of two things: 1) I passed the test! In which case, rejoicing is called for. 2) I failed the test. Failure should be met with “godly grief”, which, according to 7:10, “produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret.” Thereby offering reason to rejoice. Evaluating self becomes negative when the answer is, “I am not up to God’s standard, and I won’t change the things necessary to pass the test”.
“Aim for restoration”. This restoration is probably focused on the individual being restored to the Truth, but not limited to that. The context (even the opening of the letter) seems to have these overtones of one group (Achaia) interacting with another (Corinth). Those who failed the test yet are seeking restoration will be restored- not just to the Truth, but to the group.
“Comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace”. For the righteous, who have passed the test, attitude is everything. Christians do not place their hands on their hips and huff at those who are struggling. No matter how many times your failing brother misses the mark, the aim is restoration. How many times are we to forgive? So, pray for the restoration of those who have failed. “and the God of love and peace will be with you”.