1So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. 2If I make you sad, who is going to make me glad? Only you, the one I made sad.
3I wrote what I did for a special reason. When I came, I didn't want to be troubled by those who should make me glad. I was sure that all of you would share my joy. 4I was very troubled when I wrote to you. My heart was sad. My eyes were full of tears. I didn't want to make you sad. I wanted to let you know that I love you very deeply.
Forgive Those Who Make You Sad
5Suppose someone has made us sad. In some ways, he hasn't made me sad so much as he has made all of you sad. But I don't want to put this too strongly. 6He has been punished because most of you decided he should be. That is enough for him.
7Now you should forgive him and comfort him. Then he won't be sad more than he can stand. 8So I'm asking you to tell him again that you still love him.
9I wrote to you for a special reason. I wanted to see if you could stand the test. I wanted to see if you could obey everything that was asked of you.
10Anyone you forgive I also forgive. Was there anything to forgive? If so, I have forgiven it for your benefit, knowing that Christ is watching. 11We don't want Satan to outsmart us. We know how he does his evil work.
Serving Under the New Covenant
12I went to Troas to preach the good news about Christ. There I found that the Lord had opened a door of opportunity for me. 13But I still had no peace of mind. I couldn't find my brother Titus there. So I said good-by to the believers at Troas and went on to Macedonia.
14Give thanks to God! He always leads us in the winners' parade because we belong to Christ. Through us, God spreads the knowledge of Christ everywhere like perfume. 15God considers us to be the sweet smell that Christ is spreading among people who are being saved and people who are dying. 16To the one, we are the smell of death. To the other, we are the perfume of life. Who is able to do that work?
17Unlike many people, we aren't selling God's word to make money. In fact, it is just the opposite. Because of Christ we speak honestly before God. We speak like people God has sent.