Daily Thoughts : March 24th
2 Cor 10:1 By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you--I, Paul, who am "timid" when face to face with you, but "bold" when away!
Paul's second letter to the church at Corinth is an amazing example of restraint and of humility. He has two tasks: to exhort and chastise that particular church, and then to defend himself against their defensive criticisms of him. They had obviously criticised him for the bold and strong things he had said in his first letter. Oh right, they said, when he's with us he's all very timid, but when he's safely miles away he can be as hard as he likes! They really don't know who they are dealing with!
Paul could have absolutely devastated them with his tongue if he had wanted to, but he knew that that wasn't the way of his master. Jesus had only publicly rebuked strongly when there was two-faced hypocrisy from those who should have known better. Again and again with his disciples, his rebukes had been so restrained. Even in correction the Lord was so gentle. Thus Paul felt he had to be the same and so instead of coming boldly and strongly with a mighty rebuke, he came with amazing humility, appealing to them to hear him. What grace!
When we have to correct, how do we go about it? Whether we are a parent, an employer, a teacher or a church leader, how do we go about correcting those for whom we are responsible? Do we seek to win them with our loving, caring gentleness, or do we harden their hearts with our self-centred abuse? Think on it. We can come with a sledgehammer or we can come with open loving arms.
If we truly want to restore a fallen individual we will do it with immense gentleness. If we want to restore an angry person, we will do it with immense humility. Both need all of the Lord's grace, and a willingness to leave the outcome with Him once we have played our part. The key question is perhaps, how would I like to be treated if I need correction, how would I feel if I was on the receiving end of my tongue?
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