“People of Corinth, we have spoken frankly and opened our heart to you. Any distress you feel is not on our side; the distress is in your own selves. In fair exchange—I speak as though to children of mine—you must open your hearts too… Keep a place for us in your hearts. We have not injured anyone, or ruined anyone, or taken advantage of anyone. I am not saying this to condemn anybody; as I have already told you, you are in our hearts—so that together we live and together we die.” (2 Cor 6:11-13, 7:2-3, New Jerusalem Bible)
This passage flows so smoothly. The apostle Paul speaks of openness. Inserted in the middle of it is 6:14-7:1, a warning about tying ourselves to the “untrustful,” the “unbelieving.” By his own admission, Paul is not the world’s greatest speaker, but his writings are at times more than a little eloquent!
It seems that while he repeatedly reassures the Corinthians of his good intentions and trustworthiness, Paul is also careful to warn his readers against being gullible. It is possible to open one’s heart without being naïve. The opposite temptation is to fall into the cynicism that hardens the spirit.