We work hard with our own hands. When others call down a curse on us, we bless them. When we are attacked, we put up with it.
When others say bad things about us, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the world's garbage. We are everybody's trash.
I am not writing this to shame you. You are my dear children, and I want to warn you.
You may have 10,000 believers in Christ watching over you. But you don't have many fathers. I became your father by serving Christ Jesus and telling you the good news.
So I'm asking you to follow my example.
That's the reason I'm sending Timothy to you. He is like a son to me, and I love him. He is faithful in serving the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in serving Christ Jesus. And that agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
Some of you have become proud. You act as if I weren't coming to you.
But I will come very soon, if that's what the Lord wants. Then I will find out how those proud people are talking. I will also find out what power they have.
The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk. It is a matter of power.
Which do you want? Should I come to you with a whip? Or should I come in love and with a gentle spirit?