1 I have decided not to make my next visit with you so painful. 2 If I make you feel bad, who would be left to cheer me up, except the people I had made to feel bad? 3 The reason I want to be happy is to make you happy. I wrote as I did because I didn't want to visit you and be made to feel bad, when you should make me feel happy. 4 At the time I wrote, I was suffering terribly. My eyes were full of tears, and my heart was broken. But I didn't want to make you feel bad. I only wanted to let you know how much I cared for you.
5 I don't want to be hard on you. But if one of you has made someone feel bad, I am not really the one who has been made to feel bad. Some of you are the ones. 6 Most of you have already pointed out the wrong that person did, and this is punishment enough for what was done.
7 When people sin, you should forgive and comfort them, so they won't give up in despair. 8 You should make them sure of your love for them.
9 I also wrote because I wanted to test you and find out if you would follow my instructions. 10 I will forgive anyone you forgive. Yes, for your sake and with Christ as my witness, I have forgiven whatever needed to be forgiven. 11 I have done this to keep Satan from getting the better of us. We all know what goes on in his mind.
12 When I went to Troas to preach the good news about Christ, I found that the Lord had already prepared the way. 13 But I was worried when I didn't find my friend Titus there. So I left the other followers and went on to Macedonia.
14 I am grateful that God always makes it possible for Christ to lead us to victory. God also helps us spread the knowledge about Christ everywhere, and this knowledge is like the smell of perfume. 15-16 In fact, God thinks of us as a perfume that brings Christ to everyone. For people who are being saved, this perfume has a sweet smell and leads them to a better life. But for people who are lost, it has a bad smell and leads them to a horrible death.
No one really has what it takes to do this work. 17 A lot of people try to get rich from preaching God's message. But we are God's sincere messengers, and by the power of Christ we speak our message with God as our witness.
© Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®) © 2006 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.