Minister, if you are in the life-change business then you are in the distress-bringing business as well. Many will argue that to bring distress to your congregation is unkind. But it’s not. My best coaches have brought me distress. And their insistence to continually provoke my growth was loving.

Immensely loving.

“The Message” renders 2 Corinthians 7:8-9 this way: “I know I distressed you greatly with my letter. Although I felt awful at the time, I don’t feel at all bad now that I see how it turned out. The letter upset you, but only for a while. Now I’m glad—not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him.”

Paul wrote to change their lives. He explains that his previous letter was to see if they’d take responsibility for the church. [2 Corinthians. 2:9]

Notice that Paul’s discourse produced distress and upset. It “jarred” them into turning things around.


-Kirk Kirlin, Leadership Courage more at

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