2Co 10:1-2 “Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.”
No matter how dedicated we are to the cause of Christ, there will always be some who attribute our zeal to other causes. Some will say we are only trying to make a name for ourselves. Others will accuse us of being lazy. There will always be some who question our sincerity in caring about and for God’s people.
Our human nature is to react with hurt or malice or a desire for retribution. Paul certainly is not advocating this type of reaction. He does show intent to be bold in the face of these unwarranted attitudes and accusations, however. The key is to know that our boldness should not be governed by our own reaction.
Paul was perfectly willing to plead (beseech) with the saints at Corinth. However, Paul did not want them to perceive this pleading as a weakness or having any measure of uncertainty. Paul’s beseeching was through the meekness and gentleness of Christ. Jesus is our example of being bold while still being meek and gentle.
We often hear the account of Jesus driving the money changers from the temple as an example of Him reacting in anger. While He certainly was not pleased with their treatment of the house of God, it is not in keeping with His nature (meek and gentle) to perceive this as if He just “flew off the handle.” He certainly held a righteous indignation as to the treatment of His Father’s house, but it was not simply human rage some would depict it. He was very deliberate in His action of overturning tables and driving out the merchants and merchandise.
Yes, I know He made a scourge and drove them out. Yes, I know a scourge is a whip. This scourge was described as being made of “small cords.” If you look at the definition of the word translated as “cords,” it means a “rush or flag plant.” Jesus braided a whip from some rushes (long, grass-like plants). He was hardly beating them in the same fashion or with the same implement that was later administered to Him by the Roman soldiers. Our focus should be less on how angry He was with them and more on why He was angry: He was teaching that His Father’s house should be held in reverence, even if that meant being bold in His meekness.
It was normal for Paul to be humble when he was before the saints in the ministry of the gospel. He was also willing to be courageous toward them when he was not physically present. However, he sincerely desired that they would examine his ministry and see that he came to them as an ambassador of Christ. He did not desire to approach them as he would those that accused him of following the flesh and not the Spirit.
Paul was not being wishy-washy here. He was expressing his true desire to be able to come to them humbly. He wanted to walk among them in the ministration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But he also wanted to be sure they knew that he was not afraid to be bold to defend his actions in the gospel regardless of what men might say. He proved many times that he was ready to use the word of God for encouragement, but he was not afraid to use it as a scourge of small cords when necessary.
May we always be bold in our actions for the cause of Christ, and may that boldness always be tempered by His gentleness and meekness!