(1 Corinthians 4:14-21) – The use of authority.
Even with all the authority given to him by God, at times Paul still chooses to encourage rather than command.
He never wanted people to get the impression that he was power-crazy. All he wanted was for people to experience their full life in Christ.
So he leverages his authority by showing that he could use it to bring a hand of judgment on them, but doesn’t want to do so because he knows they can follow Jesus with God’s help.
He’s patient, gives the benefit of the doubt, holds judgment until it’s necessary, and asks good questions.
He’s doing what Jesus did in revelation 2-3 as He wrote letters to the 7 churches in Asia. Instead of flying off the handle, he gently admonishes as a parent does their small child.
He even sends a trusted companion to help the situation. It’s proof that Paul had their best interest in mind.
All this shows that those in authority must be so careful how they use it. Does our use of the authority given us bring life to others? Or exasperate them?
1 Peter 5:1-5 is another great passage that speaks to this issue. I encourage you to read it!