Paul communicates how much he really cares for the people in Corinth in showing his sincerity. He explains himself, not that he feels the need for approval of the people; God is the just judge of all things. But rather, he wants to make sure the hearts of the people remain open to him, in order for him to lead the people to the love of God. Paul is trying to be an example of what it is to be Christ-like. Many people may try or some may really not care, but Paul’s care shows by how he acts.
Paul comes with the perspective of being a servant of God first. He is willing to blindly serve Jesus because he has come to know His love for Paul. Paul, in serving Jesus, is now serving us. “…we have always acted in God given holiness and candor; this has been prompted… by God’s goodness” (v12). So Paul is not saying or doing anything for self-glorification. God has put an affection in Paul for God’s people. “…that we shall be your boast, and you ours, on the day of our Lord Jesus.” (14).
Paul discusses directly about some hurt feelings because Paul was not able to come to Corinth. He shares in the frustration. But he wants to assure them that he is not abandoning them. Sometimes we may feel that Jesus has abandoned us. Nothing could be further than the truth. Jesus loves us always, but at times we abandon Him. Paul deeply regrets not being able to come out to Corinth, but circumstances have kept him from doing so.
As emergencies arise, we ourselves may be required to be attentive to things we did not foresee. These situations may take us away from other responsibilities. It is important not to get so upset and require others to be so attentive to our needs or wants that it would require them to not take care of other responsibilities. We cannot require another to sin in being irresponsible for others. In this situation with Paul, it seemed there were others who were using the situation to pull people away from Jesus.
Paul talks about something that we do to God, as it so happens to be. Some people were thinking that Paul is not sincere. He was perceived as being emotional and therefore not consistent. They thought he would be one of those people who say yes, and mean it, but then change his mind and go back on his word. Sometimes we think God is an emotional god that may be warm and forgiving one minute, but then throw a fit the next. This is not who God is. God is the eternal rock. He always loves us. He loves all people He created. Paul, like God, does not say yes and no (v18-20). God sees all things and wants all His children to be in heaven with Him. Sometimes we need to be patient for His answer or for some things to be fulfilled. If we get impatient, then it is our yes or no that may be changing, not God’s. Do not look for a reason to be abandoned, look for a reason for faith. Sometimes we have to learn to trust.
Paul encourages them to have faith more in God than Paul. Many people will follow a charismatic leader, only to end up deflated and depressed. Jesus is our savior. There is nowhere else to go but to Him. We thank God He gives us leaders here on earth to attend to our needs. This is why He gave us bishops, priests and religious. But these are servants of Christ, not Christ Himself.
In the end, Paul realizes it was God’s providence that he was not able to come. He wants the people to stand and live their new faith with Jesus. In this way, they would come to true joy and freedom. He does not want them to remain dependent on him, but on God whom he serves.