Paul’s Sin


I am being very foolish but it was you who drove me to it!

~2 Corinthians 12:10, NEB


All have sinned and come short of the glorious perfection we see in Christ: this ALL with no exceptions.


I am going to do what you’ve never heard another preacher do; I am going to highlight Paul’s sin. We talk about David’s sin freely and also that of Peter but for some reason, we have put Paul on a pedistal above sin. I am convinced that Paul was a genius and we are forever indebted to this man for teaching us about grace. But we must never think of him as being sinless. the Bible is an honest book and everything is scripture was recorded for a reason and that includes 2 Corinthians 11-12. Paul was hurt by the harsh criticism he received at the hands of the Corinthians. He labored among them as a bi-vocational preacher. He founded the church and served as their pastor for a year and a half and he never took a dime. After Paul moved on some highly gifted speakers came to Corinth; among them were Apollos and Peter who were much better public speakers. Obviously word got back to Paul that they were impressed by these other Apostles and critical of his speaking ability. This hurt him deeply.

Paul’s response to their criticism is recorded for our good: he responded in the wrong way and we should learn by his mistake. First of all criticism is going to happen regardless and it is a mistake to respond or to defend yourself. It is what it is–just grin and go. It’s not like your the first preacher ever criticized. What Paul does contradicts everything he taught: he commended himself, he bragged, he compared himself to others and he moaned about his weakness. This is the very opposite of what he taught: boast only in the LORD, never compare yourself to others and glory in your weakness. Honestly, is Paul glorying in his weakness or is he responding defensively to criticism about his weakness?

I was attending a COLS several years ago and the preacher officiating had been called back to do this particular service. Although he had left this particular congregation and was serving another; he was still hurting because a group of turf lords asks him to move on. In other words, they ran him off. As soon as he took the pulpit, I knew what was going on. He used the occasion to preach to the group who railroaded him. I waited a week or so and then I talked to him. I said, “You did the wrong thing…you actually played right into their hand.” You have to learn to bottle the hurt and then pour it out when you are with the LORD. You don’t vent in public. You are not hurting your offenders, you are hurting yourself. Most offenders are hard hearted people who cannot be hurt because they don’t care. Paul loved the Corinthians much more than they loved him but that is not uncommon. Christ loves us more than we love Him. A pastor should love his congregation more than they love him. Paul was lashing out because he had been hurt but it was wasted rhetoric, at least on the Corinthians because “they didn’t care.” You can hurt people who don’t care.

PTL, you aren’t going to believe this, my sugar was down. It is a miracle, I ate one piece of every dessert we had at lunch Sunday but I do have to do better. June scheduled me for a brain scan; she wants to see if there is anything up there. I have headaches practically everyday. The last time they did this the doctor told me sarcastically, “I see nothing up there but a lot of gray matter.” Chuckle, chuckle: the man was so hilarious I can’t remember his name.

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