7:1Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2 Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.
What promises is Paul referring to? God's promises to walk with us, to live in us, to be our God at all times, in all places, and in all ways. We are sons and daughters of God. We are a theater for the universe. We are in the midst of life and death struggle between good and evil, between the kingdom of God and the rebel kingdom of Satan. Paul says that knowing this, and having God's promises lived out in Jesus we should be doing everything to align ourselves with Him.
This is the reason Paul is writing to them. He sees the potential for evil to take root, for bitterness and unforgiveness to ruin them. He is not angry. He is not condemning them. He is not being critical. As he has said before and is repeating his heart is open to them. He is writing precisely because he loves them. He cares for them. He is concerned for them.
If he was a hireling who preached for profit he wouldn't care. He isn't their pastor anymore. He has moved on. He has other responsibilities. If they want to fight amongst themselves and hold a man's sin over his head indefinitely what is that to him?
But Paul does care. He has their eternal destiny in mind. He carries the weight of their future on his shoulders. He knows he is taking a risk. He knows they could react badly to his correction and shut him out. He takes the risk because that's what love does. His heart is open and he is pleading with them to do the same, to receive his rebuke in the Spirit of concern and devotion in which it was given.
Paul understands the human heart, the nature of pride, our tendency to allow feelings to reign over reason and right. What will happen? How will they respond? He doesn't know and we never find out... Eternity will tell the rest of the story.
What does it have to do with us? Keep your heart open to the people that love you. Be humble enough to take their correction and wise enough to know it is coming from an open heart that only desires your good.