We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;
when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.
I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children.
Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you.
But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?