The Apostle Paul was eager to restore the Corinthians to living lives according to the truth.  They were stuck in their own self-importance, overly impressed with themselves.  This made them easy prey for false teachers, those who fed them lines that puffed them up. 

Believers are vulnerable to falsehood when their judgment is based upon superficial issues.  They assume their own righteousness, which is excessive.  Then, they further conclude that those whom they judge are less capable or inferior to them.

Paul is not less capable than the Corinthians.  They have listened to the wrong voices as they have joined in the criticism of the Apostle.  It is easy to give life to suspicion, doubt or negativity.

Even the Corinthians should have been able to conclude that Paul never tore others down.  Instead, his whole objective was to be edifying.  Paul is so overtaken by humility he modestly points out that he has used the authority that the Lord has given him to make a difference in the lives of other people. 

Rarely have we witnessed Paul speaking or acting in order to gain anything for himself.  Here he espouses his  achievements, pointing the positive eternal results.  Any hint of self-aggrandizement is absent, even though the Corinthians have concluded that he was.

Those who pass judgement on the motives of others without looking at the obvious facts will be erroneous.  Assumptions of small narrow issues will overlook true motives and self-evident results.  The only presence of selfishness is on the part of the accusers of the Apostle.

At the same time while defending himself, Paul is careful not to frighten his readers.  On the one hand some have criticized Paul for being self-centered.  On the other hand, other critics accuse him of being inconsistent. 

While he may write powerfully, he is disrespected by some as personally unimpressive.  Paul speaks boldly to these.  He assures his readers that he will live what he writes.

The lesson is stunning.  Before a person criticizes a servant of the Lord’s they should examine their own lives.  If they are judgmental with a self-righteous spirit, they are susceptible to a hurtful and inaccurate criticism. 

If we hear the criticism of others against a minister, we should examine the big picture.  God will claim those whom He has called with consistent edification in the lives who benefit from their ministry.  That’s what is real truth.

2 corinthians 10.7-11

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