15 So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less? 16 Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you. Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery! 17 Did I exploit you through any of the men I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go to you and I sent our brother with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not walk in the same footsteps by the same Spirit?
19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening. 20 For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin, and debauchery in which they have indulged. 2 Corinthians 12:15-21
It’s evident that Paul himself trained those who were under him. What were those training sessions like as they traveled from city to city? What was he like when he wasn’t in the limelight, so to speak, when he wasn’t preaching and teaching to the masses? Did he get upset at little things or just take it all in stride? We don’t know the answer to these questions but we get a glimpse of him in his writing. I suspect, like Jesus, he was hard on sin for those who deserved it but gentle to those who were just learning. In these letters we see him as coarse and straight-forward. He didn’t have time to play games. He was on a mission!
Paul evidently had not been to Corinth since he wrote his first letter, the letter that exposed some of the sin in the church. Even in this passge he’s not sure if he’ll be upset or not about the same sinners and the sin they committed. This is where he would come down harsh.
I believe a lot of leaders in the Church need to be given a lot of leeway regarding how they deal with sin in their church. You may never know the full story of why someone left the church or was forced out. Pastors and Elders have very weighty responsibilities regarding the flock that’s under them.
Pray once again for your Pastor and his family this week. Pray for the Elders and Deacons in your church as well. They have a lot of decisions they need to make on a regular basis, and sometimes it difficult to know the right things to say and do when they’re in those positions of authority.