There is a time to play nice and there is a time to take a stand.
For a good amount of his ministry, Paul had been conducting himself fairly kindly.
But a growing number of teachers were surfacing who didn’t like Paul at all, who charged their pupils great fees to hear the Gospel while at the same time slinging mud at the competition.
After due time, Paul was sick of it.
He wrote a letter to the Corinthians reminding them who he really was. He reminded them of how much he had suffered. He reminded them of his priestly lineage. He reminded them that he had not charged them a dime to hear the Word.
He did all this to stand his ground.
Sometimes, we take the whole “turn the other cheek thing” too far. (Matthew 5:38-40) What began as an self-empowering choice to deny ourselves the base instinct of vengeance can easily become a self-destructive compulsion to think, “I’m unworthy. Step all over me.”
There’s a huge difference here.
The prophet Ezekiel shouted warnings to the higher-ups of Israel as they threw him into a pit. Jesus flipped tables and warned the scammers not to defile the temple. And Paul has his second letter to the Corinthians.
There is a time to say, “no.” There are times we are called to stand up for ourselves and for others. This act is just as much an act of worship as singing a hymn because, when done right, both feed the body of Christ.
Think of our immune system. It is constantly fighting and filtering out the good and the bad within us. It is not good or bad. It is just doing it’s job.
Think of a guard who is protecting from invaders or vandals. Same concept.
We must be honest with ourselves and alert what’s going on around us. What is God calling us to do in each particular situation? And, most importantly, are we doing it in love?