3 And I wrote this very thing to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all. 4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.
And I wrote this very thing to you,
Instead of going to Corinth with discipline, Paul wrote a letter. The letter he referred to here may be one that he sent between 1 and 2 Corinthians. We do not have this letter today.
lest, when I came, I should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy,
Paul wanted his next visit to Corinth to be one of “joy.” If he went when he said he would, then it would have to be with discipline because of their unwillingness to repent. His concern was the edification of the church there. He wanted to give them time to repent of their attitude toward him.
having confidence [persuasion] in you all that my joy is the joy of you all.
Paul did not write to vent his anger and inflict pain on the church; instead, he wanted to bring them “joy” (2 Co 13:10). He had confidence that the Corinthian church would feel the same way as he did about the situation if he wrote a letter rather than coming in person.
For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I [emphatic] wrote to you, with many tears,
Paul felt a high level of discomfort in writing a letter of rebuke. He did not make this decision out of a sense of “lightness” (2 Co 1:17) but out of “much affliction and anguish.” The apostle shed tears over the troubled Corinthian church. It was not a personal issue for Paul, but a truth issue.
not that you should be grieved,
His objective was not that the church should be “grieved,” although that is what happens when disciplined.
but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.
Although Paul’s writing was painful, he wrote with love toward the Corinthians (Pr 3:11-12). He not only loved the church, but he loved them “abundantly.”
Discipline is an act of love.
It is necessary to exercise discipline to those we love, even if it causes us pain and discomfort (Pr 15:23; 27:6). Discipline is always painful for the person who delivers it and the person who receives it. The central issue is love while delivering pain. Parents seek the best for their problem children. The children may not like the discipline, but it is essential for their growth as people. Love puts others first. It is a clear sign of parental love to do the best for their children, even if the child resents it. Joy often comes out of pain.