“But I call God as witness to my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth. Not that we lord it over your faith, but are workers with you for your joy; for in your faith you are standing firm.”
(2 Corinthians 1:23-24)
This is Paul’s oath before the church in Corinth – calling God to be the legal witness to this letter, and as such, to send his soul to hell if he were lying, deceptive, or false about how he communicates with them.
What was Paul NOT lying about? That “to spare you I came no more to Corinth” – so as not to enact discipline on them for prior disobedience. This is why he didn’t come to Corinth a second time – to spare them agony.
Paul’s strategy with the church was not revenge for personal wrong, but patience, and long-suffering love. He was not a taskmaster over religious devotees, but a “worker with you for your joy!” Everything Paul did was for their joy – and Paul knew he had to give them time, a letter, in order to give the Holy Spirit time to work out obedience in their hearts.