If I boast . . . about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed. (2 Cor. 10:8)
Expanded Passage: 2 Corinthians 10:7–11
When I was ten, I broke a window in my house while playing baseball. I was punished, which included doing chores for weeks to earn money for a new window. It wasn’t enjoyable, but I learned my lesson. My behavior was transformed because my parents made the choice to use helpful discipline, rather than shaming me for my poor choices.
As Paul responded to opposition, he had to get forceful. In a way, he was disciplining the church. But Paul’s purpose was not to tear anyone down. His goal was to build the church up. Paul could not ignore the problem, because he knew the dangers presented by a lack of discipline within the body of Christ. Even when his words were stern, and he promised to be tough on them, when he saw them there was no shame in his tone. He understood the weight of his responsibility to the church—to use his God-given authority to help them mature in their faith.
Each of us has a responsibility to the body of Christ, to speak up and correct other believers. We must be diligent, however, that our words and actions toward one another are helpful and not hurtful. Shame is not a tactic of the Holy Spirit. We must be encouraging, even in tough conversations, so that lessons can be learned and lives can be transformed.
Create space for holy transformation through holy discipline.
Carla Working is an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church. She serves as the Crossroads District’s chief operations officer (Indiana) and co-pastors with her husband.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.