4:14 “I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.”
This verse is an abrupt change of tone toward the Corinthian church.
I do not write these things to shame you,
Paul did not write the previous verses to “shame” the Corinthians for the sake of shame. He did write to “shame” them for other reasons (6:5; 15:34). The difference lies in the reason for the shame.
but as my beloved children I warn you.
Paul appeals to the Corinthian church as his family members. The word “warn” means to appeal to the mind, put in mind, admonish. He wanted to bring truth to their minds, not guilt per se. They may have felt guilt under his stinging sarcasm but that was not his purpose. His purpose was to appeal to the mind, to admonish. He wanted to stir them to godly living.
Experience is a hard but accurate teacher.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. It does not help to shame people, because shame is a weak basis of appeal. Shaming people does not help structure the soul but simply imposes guilt. They go right back and do the same thing again. The “blame-game” for the purpose of imposing guilt alone is not profitable.
There is a big difference between imposing guilt on people and putting proper biblical thinking in their minds. Solid ministry always appeals to principle rather than guilt. There is a place for shame when someone needs a jolt for the purpose of dissonance but dissonance itself is not sufficient. Biblical content is necessary for dissonance to direct one’s life in the right direction. We need to make a clean break with everything that hinders our fellowship with the Lord. We cannot fritter away our opportunity to serve the Lord in time.