But I decided this for my own sake, that I would not come to you in sorrow again. 2 For if I cause you sorrow, who then will be the one making me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me?
-- 2 Corinthians 2:1-2
Paul wanted to sort out this problem before he came so the visit would be all hugs and such. He couldn’t bear it to be a tension you could cut with a knife. It was selfish self interest on his part, the same way a parent wants coming home from work to be a joyful event with the children instead of having to punish them. They would want it too, of course, so it was in their interest too. He wanted to trust them to sort it out. He wanted them to be an example to other churches, to be able to use it as a positive story, to help places like the Philippian church. They would read this letter and know that they had obeyed him.
But now faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
-- 1 Corinthians 13:13
No greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend. That is what Jesus did and it is the story, the truth story that shows love more than any other. Our best love would be to share the story of the world’s greatest love, and how it was personal then for the people of his time and just as personal for the people of our time. We need to say, let me tell you the best love story ever, and you are the one in the story.
it does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 it keeps every confidence, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
-- 1 Corinthians 13:6-7
There are lots of activities that we do that only succeed at, one and a while. It might be skiing or tennis, or golf, but for most people who do it they just do a passable job. They wouldn’t be able to make a career out of it, and that okay, because they are just games. These things mentioned in the verses above aren’t like that. They don’t take any level of skill to do them, just love, but people are so grateful when you practice these things on them. The goodness will be doing God’s actions, after him, copying him, and he will approve.