“…I would like to be present with you now and to change my tone; for I have doubts about you.”
I would like to be present with you
Paul wishes to be personally present with the Galatians to address them face-to-face rather than through an epistle. The situation was so grave in Galatia that Paul wanted to be there to diagnose it more accurately and deal with it more directly.
The word “now” is the emphatic word of this verse. The church was at a grave point in their spiritual journey.
and to change my tone;
It is difficult to put the tone of one’s heart in a letter. Paul wanted to adapt his voice to the actual situation in Galatia. It is always wise for leaders to understand the context when dealing with a problem in a local church.
for I have doubts about you
The relapse into legalism perplexed Paul. He was at a loss to conceive an adequate reason for the Galatians leaving the grace principle. The word “doubt” connotes to be without a way to go and so to be puzzled. Paul doesn’t know what to think of the Galatians. How could he teach the grace principle so clearly, yet they turn away from it so quickly?
“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-7).
Good leaders concern themselves with both tone and truth in confronting false doctrine.
Do you love truth enough that when believers relapse into false doctrine, you grieve over them? Does their aberrant doctrine puzzle you? People with a heart for truth find themselves bewildered by people who go sideways theologically. People who love truth will take a stand for truth. Not because they are obnoxious, but because they honor God’s Word.
When people they lead fall into doctrinal error, mature Christian leaders do not rush to correct them like a bull in a China shop. They seek to understand the context of the situation. They concern themselves with a tone as well as truth.