Now I, Paul, appeal to you with the gentleness and kindness of Christ—though I realize you think I am timid in person and bold only when I write from far away. Well, I am begging you now so that when I come I won’t have to be bold with those who think we act from human motives.2 Corinthians 10:1-2
An interesting two verses. The two sides of Paul. Paul was a combination of strength and weakness. Well isn’t that interesting. He is just like the rest of us. No surprises there. He is human, a mixture of boldness and timidity. We have the same combination. We can be courageous and other times we are shy and retiring and lacking courage. Our self esteem and view of ourselves varies with the changing times and circumstances in which we find ourselves. While that may be true, Paul is not actually talking about the duality of the human nature. Actually he has returned to the allegations made against him by the “super apostles”. The continuing tension that is felt throughout the two letters to the Corinthians.
In this translation [NLT] the concept is spelled out, “I realize you think I am timid in person and bold only . . . from far away”. In other translations the words timid and bold are enclosed in inverted commas – “timid” and “bold”. Even though Paul is like the rest of all of us, a mixture of bold and timid, in this case it is not a correct labeling. It is the label that has been put on him by his critics, who criticize for their own ends. It is rather Paul’s love and willingness to bear with the Corinthians in person, in an endeavour to love them and support them in the right way. Paul heard what was going on while he was away from them and rather then allow the issue to fester he deals with it from a distance in letters. Yes it is heavy but he has to be bold. But it is not a question of his personality or not. It is something a true leader / mentor is called on to do whether he wants to or not. He must be true to the truth. It is not a case of being one thing when you are with them and another when you are apart. It is a case of telling the truth in love, present with them or not.
The mystery of this additional comment here is in the context of Paul saying he was rejoicing that everything has been worked out after the report he got from Titus. According to Titus, the relationship between Paul and the Corinthians is repaired. The Corinthians are sorry for the grief caused and are longing for Paul again. At least that is what we read in 2 Cor 7. Why does Paul bring this up again? Food for thought. If it is a dead issue why resurrect it again? Why not let it lie? Especially when the Corinthians are longing for Paul again and accepting him.
Our purpose is to increase the Shalom in this world. We are to be the world’s shock absorbers.Barry McGuire
You’re never persuasive when you’re abrasive. Speak the truth with love.Rick Warren