2 Corinthians 12:11-21 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
11 I have become a fool; you forced it on me. I ought to have been recommended by you, since I am in no way inferior to the “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of an apostle were performed among you in all endurance—not only signs but also wonders and miracles. 13 So in what way were you treated worse than the other churches, except that I personally did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!
14 Look! I am ready to come to you this third time. I will not burden you, for I am not seeking what is yours, but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for you. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 Now granted, I have not burdened you; yet sly as I am, I took you in by deceit! 17 Did I take advantage of you by anyone I sent you? 18 I urged Titus [to come], and I sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Didn’t we walk in the same spirit and in the same footsteps?
19 You have thought all along that we were defending ourselves to you. [No], in the sight of God we are speaking in Christ, and everything, dear friends, is for building you up. 20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I will not find you to be what I want, and I may not be found by you to be what you want; there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come my God will again humiliate me in your presence, and I will grieve for many who sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, sexual immorality, and promiscuity they practiced.
Paul again is confronting the “super-apostles” who have lied about him and accused him of improper motives and tactics. His sarcasm is hard to miss, v. 11, 13, 16.
The main focus of this passage is to defend his own approach to them. Paul loves the Corinthians and emphasizes to them that everything he has done has been out of a selfless love for them. Notice the signs of love for them:
v. 12 – signs and wonders
v. 13, 14, 16 – did not burden them
v. 15 – gladly be spent for you
v. 17, 18 – refusal to take advantage of them
v. 19 – trying to build them up
v. 20-21 – willing to confront sin and immorality
v. 21 – grieving for their sin and lack of repentance
How does our love for others measure to Paul’s love for the Corinthians? Do we take on any of the same actions, attitudes, goals to show love? Do you think we have a correct understanding of love today or do we get fooled into thinking “Hollywood, romantic love stories” are reality?