Paul’s rivals had a differing view of Christian living than Paul. They wanted a much more severe response and punishment to human failings. They accused him of flattering the Corinthian church, of saying what they want to hear to appease them (“yes” to their “yes” and “no” to their “no”). Paul writes to assure the Corinthians that his gentleness was not flattery, but was instead a proclamation and offering of God’s grace.
In the movie, Shindler’s List, Oskar Schindler is a business man during World War II using labor camps as cheap labor for his business. He begins to feel pity, then compassion, and then love his workers, and he begins to feel protective of them. He has this conversation with ruthless military leader Amon Goeth.
Oskar Schindler: Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don't.
Amon Goeth: You think that's power?
Oskar Schindler: That's what the Emperor said. A man steals something, he's brought in before the Emperor, he throws himself down on the ground. He begs for his life, he knows he's going to die. And the Emperor... pardons him. This worthless man, he lets him go.
Amon Goeth: I think you are drunk.
Oskar Schindler: That's power, Amon. That is power.
Schindler knows what we would do well to learn, that true power does not come in heavy handed punishment, but in grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
2 Corinthians 1:12-24
Indeed, this is our boast, the testimony of our conscience: we have behaved in the world with frankness and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God—and all the more toward you. For we write you nothing other than what you can read and also understand; I hope you will understand until the end— as you have already understood us in part—that on the day of the Lord Jesus we are your boast even as you are our boast.
Since I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a double favor; I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on to Judea. Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to ordinary human standards, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been “Yes and No.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not “Yes and No”; but in him it is always “Yes.” For in him every one of God’s promises is a “Yes.” For this reason it is through him that we say the “Amen,” to the glory of God. But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us, by putting his seal on us and giving us his Spirit in our hearts as a first installment. But I call on God as witness against me: it was to spare you that I did not come again to Corinth. I do not mean to imply that we lord it over your faith; rather, we are workers with you for your joy, because you stand firm in the faith.