In Chapter 10 of the Second Letter from Paul to the Corinthians, Paul is establishing that he was sent by God to “recommend” to us (v18). Since God sent him, Paul is not insecure about his ministry or authority. Rather, he prefers the “meekness and kindness” that Jesus had while He lived here. Unfortunately, some people interpret the actions of meekness as weakness (2). Meekness is actually a sign of self-control and confidence. Yet meekness does not tolerate the evil, but does with patience try to encourage others to do what is right, before having to correct firmly.
Those who are accusing Paul are in fact “viewing things superficially” (7). As humans, we want the smack down on those we point the finger to, but to ourselves not so much. We think giving the smack down is an expression of authority and power. Paul knows he has authority and what kind of “destruction” that could bring about (8). His authority is real and those that did cross it did indeed feel it when provoked. It is not something he desires. The reason for desiring the “boldness” of Paul by some people is telling of insecurities and lacking in faith. Punishment of the bad guys, we think, brings security from evil. It is a natural understanding for us mortals and finite beings. It is only in the infinite being can we have such security as Paul has as sent by God. So the insecurities and superficial view of things are not entirely to be blamed on the persons; it is the condition of humanity’s fallen state.
Paul does not compare himself against others (12). To him, that would be a bold move not so much to show his power, but rather, it would be a bold move against God. It is God who calls those whom He has chosen. God does not choose because of status, intelligence or ability. God chooses and then gives the grace to do what He desires them to do. At work, we have to prove ourselves. To others we feel the need to justify our actions. God does not need our approval. He doesn’t even need our approval of what He is doing with others or how He is working in others.
It is always comforting to know that God makes no mistakes in doing His work for us. When God does His work in us, we can only hope that the work He has done may overflow into those around us and those whom we love. Like Paul, Jesus too desires to place the Gospel message in our hearts. By God’s grace, we can be a source of goodness for others. But our boast is in Our Lord Jesus. We can only hope that He would be able to boast in us: that we would be “recommended” to bear the name “Christian.”