Crisis resolution is one area of life that usually shows a person’s strength of character. As we live in this world, we can never completely be exempt from crisis and squabbles. Although, by adhering to godly principles on interpersonal relationships, we may reduce its incidence, but total eradication is not practicable. This is because we still wear the flesh and live in a corrupt world of diverse opinions and values. So, it is not a surprise that Paul found himself in such situation. Even among believers, crisis do arise, but every Christian leader no matter the size of his office, must learn to take every step in loving consideration of those under him while depending on God for wisdom at such critical times.
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From verses 23-24 of the first chapter, Paul carried his thoughts over to the next chapter and continued the discourse. He obviously had made a promise to pay another visit to the Corinthians but couldn’t keep up with this promise. For this he had been slandered by some people as being unreliable and dishonest. They castigated him as one who has no integrity and not worthy to be listened to or followed. Surprisingly, as Paul began to explain, it becomes clear that everything he did was done for the best interest of the Corinthian Church. In 2:1-4 he explains; “but I determined this with myself that I would not come again to you in heaviness, if I make you sad, who will make me happy?”. Paul valued the relationship he shared with these brethren above his leadership authority. He wouldn’t want to lose these precious souls simply because he wants to show his grievances or exert his powers as a leader. This is indeed a heart of love. It is a humble heart. In humility, he puts the feelings of these men and women first and above his own hurt. Having experienced a difficult time with them in his last visit, he decides to give them some space. Instead of another confrontational visit, he opted for a letter. Unfortunately, he was misunderstood.
This kind of situations exist in both families and churches. Out of prejudice, we judge and conclude matters even before hearing them. This is not the teaching of the bible. We are taught in James 1:19 to “be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath”. The Corinthians failed in this and we also fail at times. Can you recount how many times you have personally misjudged the intentions of people who love you? Or how many times you have been misunderstood by others? Let brotherly love always lead us. Instead of drawing baseless conclusions may we learn to make honest enquiries. May we learn also to accept our limitations and be quick to tender apologies. “A soft answer”, says Proverbs 15:1, “turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger”. Paul has shown us the heart of a true lover. He wouldn’t allow his disciplinary measures to tear the church of God apart and neither would he condone sin just because he wants everyone to feel good. It is a delicate duty and one that must be done with utmost care and wisdom. In everything we do let us aim to reflect God’s heart of love and his zero tolerance for disobedience and lawlessness. May God continue to bless and equip us with all that we need to carry out this important leadership principle anywhere we may find ourselves, in Jesus name, Amen.