Heart to Heart - Part One

Heart to Heart
2 Corinthians 7:2-16
Theme: Intimacy.
This week’s lessons teach us that true companionship can only be found in Christianity.

There are 13 chapters in the book of 2 Corinthians. This seventh chapter is the summary, or wrap-up, of what has come before. 2 Corinthians can be divided easily into three parts: chapters 1 through 7, then a short section that includes chapters 8 and 9, and then a final section beginning with chapter 10 through the end.

In this section Paul refers again to what he was discussing in chapters 2 and 6. What distinguishes this section of the book, however, is the exceedingly intimate way he bares his heart to these Christians in the city of Corinth. Intimacy is a very important thing because it is something we all hunger for and yet it is something, unfortunately, we very seldom find.

Some time ago, Ann Landers received an unprecedented response to her newspaper column. Writing to women on that occasion, she asked the question whether wives preferred sexual intimacy or would rather just be hugged. She was inundated by the responses of women. They wrote that what they really wanted was somebody to show them affection and give them an opportunity to be intimate on a level other than the sexual one. What I think did not come out in that poll is that men, for their part, also have this desire for intimacy. Usually people say - and I think there is a measure of truth in it - that men give love in order to get sex and women give sex in order to get love. But what lies deeper than either of those statements reveals is this real hunger to be known by someone else and to have an opportunity of knowing them as well.

Unfortunately, sin has entered into all human relationships and that natural hunger we have for intimacy is frustrated, again and again, in many practical ways. There are a lot of reasons for the lack of intimacy we experience with other people. One reason is our own fears of how others might react if we do express ourselves in a vulnerable or intimate way. We say, "Suppose I would tell what I am really thinking or suppose I share the kind of uncertainties I have, or my worries about the future, or these feelings of inadequacy I feel. If I do that, they will probably reject me. They will say, ‘I did not know you were like that. I do not want to have a friend who has all those weaknesses that you confessed.’ " We have to admit that sometimes when we have tried to share things on an intimate level, we have been rejected in precisely that way. So, fear of what might happen keeps us from being vulnerable with others.

It is always dangerous to do this these days - but since I have already made a distinction between men and women, I will continue by saying I think that men especially have difficulty at this point. Men believe they have to keep up an image and are afraid that if somehow this image is shattered or people break through, then they will be rejected if they are known for what they really are.

Study Questions

  • Why do we sometimes fear intimacy with other people?
  • What frustrates human intimacy?
  • According to Dr. Boice, why do men especially fear intimacy?

Further Study
God knows us thoroughly and will never reject us. Meditate on each verse of Psalm 139.