Things sure haven’t changed much in 2000 years! The Corinthians had accused Paul of hiding behind his written words – that he seemed so meek and gentle in person but bold and brash in his writings to them. He found himself in the unenviable position of having to backpedal after saying some offensive things in a letter. Is it much different today?
The main difference today is that our ability to hide behind the written word has more immediate effects. Social media has made it possible to put all our thoughts into words. We can spout off when angry, gush melty words when feeling elated, post every activity, thought and event in pictures for the world to see – and click send before we have a chance to give any of it a second thought. Is there anyone who is online that has not regretted a post at some time?
Not too long ago I posted a funny video of my dog growling every time my kid got too close to my plate of food. I promptly received a public shaming when a couple of my followers scolded me for not taking my dog to a doggie-shrink for “food guarding.” I quickly took down the post and sat in my shame puddle for several days before I could finally let it go. I wonder, if we had been at a meal together, would they have shamed me publicly in person? I doubt it. Why do we feel it’s ok to say everything we think in printed word when we wouldn’t say those things in person? It’s food for thought, people. Be kind. Don’t post what you wouldn’t say to a person’s face. And don’t say to a person’s face what you will regret later. We could use a little more kindness and less shaming in our world today. And forgiveness for when we all inevitably fail miserably. Thank God for repentance, forgiveness, and redemption.
2 Corinthians 10:1-18
I myself, Paul, appeal to you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— I ask that when I am present I need not show boldness by daring to oppose those who think we are acting according to human standards. Indeed, we live as human beings, but we do not wage war according to human standards; for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ. We are ready to punish every disobedience when your obedience is complete.
Look at what is before your eyes. If you are confident that you belong to Christ, remind yourself of this, that just as you belong to Christ, so also do we. Now, even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it. I do not want to seem as though I am trying to frighten you with my letters. For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” Let such people understand that what we say by letter when absent, we will also do when present.
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another, and compare themselves with one another, they do not show good sense. We, however, will not boast beyond limits, but will keep within the field that God has assigned to us, to reach out even as far as you. For we were not overstepping our limits when we reached you; we were the first to come all the way to you with the good news of Christ. We do not boast beyond limits, that is, in the labors of others; but our hope is that, as your faith increases, our sphere of action among you may be greatly enlarged, so that we may proclaim the good news in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in someone else’s sphere of action. “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” For it is not those who commend themselves that are approved, but those whom the Lord commends.