by Christopher Harbin

Appropriate Dependence
Christopher B. Harbin
2 Corinthians 10:1-11

It is easy to get off topic and miss the point of a conversation, or at least the point someone else it trying to make. We get bogged down in details that sidetrack us from what is actually the more important issue at hand. In the process, we don't simply fail to communicate, we destroy the possibility of communication by focusing on all the wrong issues. When it comes to dependence on Christ Jesus, we more often than not do more of the same. We place our confidence in the wrong places, our attention to the wrong issues, and fail to actually arrive at a point of confidence and trust. At some level, we may be aware of what we are doing, but mostly, we simply avoid the real issues as a distraction from what we really need to do.

Much has been written and spoken about this passage in terms of Paul being different in person than he was from a distance behind his letters. It is very possible that he comes across to us as harsher, sterner, more reactionary in his letters than he came across in person. In great part, that would be expected, especially given the constraints in the time period on issues of writing, the cost of writing materials, and the need to be concise in his communications from a distance. The problem here is not that there may have been some distinction to be made between his personal presentation and that in his letters. It is that most of that discussion completely distracts us from what Paul was trying to communicate in this passage.

That was a side issue he felt needed to be addressed, but we all too readily want to make it the central issue of the text. We do that in this case quite readily, feeling justified over how many words he uses on the topic. Even so, his point was not how forceful he might have been in person. His point was more in keeping with determining parameters for a distinctive Christian approach to issues, to conflict, to getting across the message of th ...

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