Do you remember the feeling of being totally blindsided by the perception that others have had of you?  It was particularly unsettling when these were people who should know you well enough that miscommunication would be far from the realm of possibility.  Startled we have to quickly reverse our direction and realign our discussion to set the record straight.

Paul was very good at altering his direction.  His discernment skills with people were keen.  When he was in dialogue with the believers at Corinth, he was teaching forthrightly.

Yet, suddenly he realized that these Christians were misunderstanding his intent.  They heard his words and saw his life, but they were interpreting his intentions completely incorrectly.  It was time to arrest that thinking with a rhetorical challenge.

A well-formed inquiry sets the context to realize the foolishness of an invalid assumption.  Under duress accusations or gossip always seem accurate and necessary.  However, once freedom returns, it is clear that ideas taken for granted are plainly foolish.

Paul plainly places all of his words under the scrutiny of God.  He is confident that his integrity before Christ is pristine.  Furthermore, his objective is not to serve himself but in fact to edify the believers.

Good leaders anticipate the impact of their leadership on the lives of those who follow.  Paul’s concern was for the Corinthians, who might not be as spiritual mature as he would like them to be.  The potential for disorder makes the apostle nervous.

Eight problems are listed by Paul.  The Corinthians could be involved with any or all of these terrible descriptions of human interaction.  None of these aspects are novel, they are comprehensive in that they complement each other and share in common lists in various parts of the Bible where these features are often seen together.

Quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder are symptoms of lives that do not submit to the Lordship of Christ.  These habits divide people.  Expressions of these aspects of life hurt relationships, destroy loyalty and  distract from the true Gospel presentation.

There is no question that a pastor feels close to his people.  Whether there is outward success or not, a tie is formed among those who spiritually grow together.  Spiritual success is not necessarily guaranteed.  In fact mourning and even embarrassment might be the description of the day.

If there is no repentance from sin, Paul will be disappointed.  Should there be severe sexual sins, Paul will be saddened.  Past indulgences should be allowed to have a resurgence.

 2 corinthians 12:19-21

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