If I love you more, will you love me less? (2 Corinthians 12:15b)
In these final chapters of 2 Corinthians, we are learning how to respond when under attack by others. Paul’s authority is questioned. His motives are questioned. His theology is questioned. And now he is accused of taking money for himself that he told them would be an offering for the church in Jerusalem. How often a family dispute involves money and possessions. Paul is hurt deeply by the accusations: it is painful to love more and be loved less. We want the love we express to be received and returned in equal measure, but too often life does not work that way.
How do you respond when the love you give is not only not repricocated, but your very motive for loving is attacked? Paul does not attack but remains vulnerable. He responds with patient, biblical, direct appeals and a certain amount of humor and humility. He does not enter the fray, and keeps his focus on what God wants to accomplish through him. We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening. (12:19)
Paul will not let go of them. His love for them is genuine. It is not easy for Paul, but this is not about Paul but what God can do through him. How much heartache could be avoided if we could learn the lessons of Paul.