1I am boasting because I have to. Not that it does any good, but I wil move on to visions andrevelations from the Lord. 2I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago -- stil in the body? I do not know; or out of the body? Ido not know: God knows -- was caught up right into the third heaven. 3And I know that this man -- stil in the body? or outside the body? I do not know, God knows- 4was caught up into Paradise and heard words said that cannot and may not be spoken by any humanbeing. 5On behalf of someone like that I am wil ing to boast, but I am not going to boast on my own behalfexcept of my weaknesses; 6and then, if I do choose to boast I shal not be talking like a fool because I shal be speaking the truth.But I wil not go on in case anybody should rate me higher than he sees and hears me to be, because of theexceptional greatness of the revelations. 7Wherefore, so that I should not get above myself, I was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger fromSatan to batter me and prevent me from getting above myself. 8About this, I have three times pleaded with the Lord that it might leave me; 9but he has answered me, 'My grace is enough for you: for power is at ful stretch in weakness.' It is,then, about my weaknesses that I am happiest of al to boast, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me; 10and that is why I am glad of weaknesses, insults, constraints, persecutions and distress for Christ'ssake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong. 11I have turned into a fool, but you forced me to it. It is you that should have been commending me;those super-apostles had no advantage over me, even if I am nothing at all. 12Al the marks characteristic of a true apostle have been at work among you: complete perseverance,signs, marvels, demonstrations of power. 13Is there any way in which you have been given less than the rest of the churches, except that I didnot make myself a burden to you? Forgive me for this unfairness! 14Here I am, ready to come to you for the third time and I am not going to be a burden on you: it is notyour possessions that I want, but yourselves. Children are not expected to save up for their parents, but parentsfor their children, 15and I am more than glad to spend what I have and to be spent for the sake of your souls. Is itbecause I love you so much more, that I am loved the less? 16Al right, then; I did not make myself a burden to you, but, trickster that I am, I caught you by trickery. 17Have I taken advantage of you through any of the people I have sent to you? 18Titus came at my urging, and I sent his companion with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Canyou deny that he and I were fol owing the guidance of the same Spirit and were on the same tracks? 19Al this time you have been thinking that we have been pleading our own cause before you; no, wehave been speaking in Christ and in the presence of God -- and all, dear friends, to build you up. 20I am afraid that in one way or another, when I come, I may find you different from what I should likeyou to be, and you may find me what you would not like me to be; so that in one way or the other there wil berivalry, jealousy, bad temper, quarrels, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorders; 21and when I come again, my God may humiliate me in front of you and I shal be grieved by all thosewho sinned in the past and have stil not repented of the impurities and sexual immorality and debauchery thatthey have committed.
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