It seems that even Saint Paul had heard the old adage that you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. Instead of opening his First Letter to the Corinthians with a list of the serious issues he needed to confront in the community, he called to mind the many ways that the Holy Spirit had enriched the people’s lives.
Saint Paul reminded the Corinthians that God had done so much in their lives. He also told them that whatever changes needed to be made in no way cancelled or diminished these blessings. In fact, Saint Paul’s correction of their sin flowed from his confidence that Christ was with them: he had already given them the spiritual gifts they needed to purify what was still out of order.
We can learn a lot from Saint Paul’s teaching. When we are faced with our sin, we need to remember that God dwells within us, that he has redeemed us, and that he has given us the grace of forgiveness. If we find ourselves falling to the same temptation over and over again, we can remind ourselves that God has always been faithful to us; and that he will continue to see us through our struggles.
Things go much easier in our lives when we approach situations from the right starting point. There is a greater humility, a deeper gratitude to God, and a greater openness to change—and that means the Holy Spirit is more free to bring healing and reconciliation. Instead of looking down on others or falling into self-pity, we should raise our eyes to heaven and proclaim God’s faithfulness and love.