In this part of his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul highlights his own ministry as an example for what the ministry of the church should look like. A key characteristic was being faithful and courageous in sharing the Good News, even when it was unpopular or even dangerous to do so. “Though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ,” points us to the accountability of Christian community. Sometimes we are called to have those difficult conversations when we feel it is necessary to help someone live more fully into their God-created, best self. Yet how did Paul and his team approach that task? “But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children.”
Is it possible to hold someone accountable while still being gentle? Do you tend to approach conflict with force or with gentleness? In what ways do you courageously hold to your convictions even if it is not popular with the people around you?
In prayer, ask God for the courage to be steadfast, but the wisdom to be gentle.