Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us.2 Corinthians 5:12-14
I left you yesterday with a question about Paul’s comment “God knows we are sincere and we hope you Corinthians know it too.” What is Paul meaning here? What is this a reference to? How does it link to what has gone before and to what is coming.? If you really want to understand the Scripture then pay attention to all of it. You must ask why comments are made and what their significance is. Note the word sincere and the reference to the Corinthians. There have been series of references through the Corinthian letters to Apostles themselves and their credentials. Are they real apostles or charlatans? There has been rivalry and innuendo from the group of super-apostles as Paul termed them. In the midst of this going on there have been references to recommendations and letters of recommendations. But Paul has stated earlier “surely you don’t need letters of recommendations from us or about us.” Remember Paul’s comment “Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you.” This comment then leads to Paul’s reference to the plax and the concept of genuiness, sincerity. Effectively Paul is saying “You know we are the real deal.” Just like the match between the plax with the message on the envelope matching the inner message.
For this reason Paul makes the comments which follow in the verses before us today. The quality of ministry is not about the outward appearance, the spectacular nature of the work. It is about having sincerity and integrity within. Not projecting a sham like the super apostles but being true to the faith we tell people about. Paul’s next comments are very interesting. If we are crazy (too passionate) it is to bring glory to God. If we are in our right minds (sober) it is for you. Clearly comments have been made about Paul being crazy, too passionate, or alternatively too proper, strong in his letters but not much personality. Interesting isn’t it, that often the criticism we attract can be so polarized, from one end of the spectrum to the other? We are too passionate at the same time others say we are not passionate enough. We are both too rational or intellectual and not intellectual enough. Paul is countering such comments by saying if we are crazy or too passionate it is for the glory of God, or perhaps because of it. With a God so great (whom we can’t ever exaggerate) who would not be passionate even to the point of being considered out of our minds. If we are too sober (in our right minds) it is for the benefit of you Corinthians.
There are these elements throughout the letters. There is clearly on going criticism of Paul. He doesn’t spend much time in the letter facing the issue but some. Many of his comments are short one liners in between other text, much like this one. Most times it is best to ignore the opposition and let the genuine nature of what we are doing shine out for itself. Other times it is best to address the issues we are being criticized for rather than ignoring them. One thing we must do is to ensure the focus of our ministry moves forward and is not sidelined in our attempt to address the opposition. Nehemiah had it right when he said “why should I stop working to answer your criticism.” (Neh 6:3). We need to press on with the work when words of criticism fly thick and fast. Don’t let the armchair critics sway you from your God-given task.
‘It’s not necessary to blow out another person’s light to let your own shine.Sidney Mohede
Slandering people makes you inferior to them. Getting even puts you on their level. Forgiving shows superior character.Rick Warren
Accept that some days you’re the pigeon and some days you’re the statue.Anon