Paul finishes his session of foolishness.
11 I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles. 13 For in what respect were you treated as inferior to the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not become a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong! 14 Here for this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I do not seek what is yours, but you; for children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But be that as it may, I did not burden you myself; nevertheless, crafty fellow that I am, I took you in by deceit. 17 Certainly I have not taken advantage of you through any of those whom I have sent to you, have I? 18 I urged Titus to go, and I sent the brother with him. Titus did not take any advantage of you, did he? Did we not conduct ourselves in the same spirit and walk in the same steps?
As I read this passage today, I was reminded of Jesus’ words in John 4:48, So Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.” Even when we see signs and wonders we could easily believe the wrong thing. What is the explanation we get afterwards and why are we so entranced by magic and signs but pay no attention to logic? Paul’s accusers were telling the Corinthians that he just wanted their money, yet he never collected money from them for himself. Verse 13 reveals Paul’s frustration by noting that the church at Corinth was one which he did not collect money from, maybe that was his mistake. Because of the fragile state of the area and the church, he handled them with “kid gloves” so that this wouldn’t be an issue, yet it still became one!
I think about the times when people have treated me this way; they did the best they could for me and still I didn’t listen. Can you think of a time in your life when you were like this? It seems that adolescence is the common time this occurs in our lives but it certainly can happen elsewhere. How frustrating it must be for those who love and care about us and are only trying to help but we refuse to listen. Instead, we would rather be told what we want to hear instead of the truth. What if what we wanted to hear was the truth? If we seek to hear the truth instead of affirmation of our own ideas, maybe it would be easier for us to accept the things we don’t necessarily want to hear but need to hear.
Why do we reject the truth so quickly yet accept lies so easily? It’s as if we can’t handle the truth, so we prefer to be bathed in lies instead of purified with the truth. Granted, the truth isn’t always easy to accept, but we know logically that the ultimate truth is what is best. As Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” The importance of continuing in His word is so that when we are lavished with beautiful lies we can see through them because we know the truth. If we cling to this truth then we will not be easily deceived. It pains me that so many (myself included) have been led astray from the truth of God simply because they choose to believe lies instead of seek out the truth.
We are afraid that the truth will destroy our current worldview. We think it is better to live a life of believing lies rather than make ourselves vulnerable enough so we can experience real truth and freedom.
How are you avoiding the truth today?