The Book of II Corinthians

Heart to Heart – Part Two


Heart to Heart2 Corinthians 7:2-16Theme: Intimacy.This week’s lessons teach us that true companionship can only be found in Christianity.
LessonAnother reason for a failure of intimacy is what is called “low self-esteem” or “low self-image.” Now, if men have a problem particularly in the area of the fear of intimacy, I would venture to say that, while it is true of men also, many women in our day especially suffer with low self-image. Perhaps the culture is partially to blame. Today women are told that they can be everything. Now they probably can be, but they cannot be everything at once.
Unfortunately this “superwoman” image is the one sold in the media. So, when a woman, who is trying to be a career woman, and a lover, and a mother, and a church worker, and a social worker, and whatever else she may be, tries to perform all those roles at one time and finds she cannot quite do it, she says, “I am not doing well in any area of my life – I am a failure!”
I am convinced that many women have very low self-images. They think they are failing as wives and mothers and in all their other relationships. As a result they do not become intimate. They say, “I am doing so badly. Who would ever want to really know and care for me?”
At the same time, probably the greatest reason why we fail in our attempts to communicate on this intimate level with other people is our guilt, which flows from sin. The world – to some extent – can analyze the first two failures. If you read secular books along these lines, you will find many discuss the issues of fear and low self-image. But in Christianity you recognize how serious this matter of guilt really is. The difficulty is that we are not what we ought to be. It is not just a question of being afraid of being known or having a low self-image; we stand guilty in our own eyes and above all, in the eyes of God. So we think, “If I reveal the true feelings of my heart, then it will be evident to everybody that I am a sinner.” And we do not want that. So we pull back and we set up barriers. We do exactly what Adam and Eve did in the garden. They were all right before the fall. But, the first thing they did after the fall was try to cover themselves with clothing – a symbol of the kind of coverings we resort to virtually every day of our lives.
All of this is a way of introducing what Paul is going to say in chapter 7 – that above all, it is in Christianity that these barriers to intimacy are overcome or broken down. The barrier of guilt is dealt with in Christianity by the cross. That is the meaning of the atonement – Christ died in our place to pay the penalty of our sin in order that our guilt might be removed and we might stand before God and also before one another. The problem of a low self-image is overcome, as the Bible teaches, by the fact that we are made in the image of God. As one of the children’s books I read says, “God don’t make no junk.” We are made in the image of God, and we have worth in God’s sight, and also in the eyes of other people.
If we consider the barrier of fear, the Bible tells us that fear is overcome by love. Perfect love casts out fear, and that perfect love he has for us is what we find revealed by God in Jesus Christ. This great, universal search for intimacy is something that Christianity provides. When we turn to the personal life of a man like the Apostle Paul, we find the pattern – a model for the kind of sharing and vulnerability that produces intimacy between Christian people in all walks of life.
Study Questions

According to Dr. Boice, why do women especially suffer from a low self-image?
What is the greatest reason why we fail in our attempts to communicate with others?
How does the cross break down barriers to intimacy that have been erected by guilt?

Further StudyRead the story of the Fall in Genesis 3:1-13. How do you observe sin and guilt breaking down intimacy and erecting barriers against self-exposure?
Scripture MemoryMemorize 1 John 4:18.

Study Questions
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