2 Corinthians 11:1 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! 2 I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by its cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough. 5 I think that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. 6 I may be untrained in speech, but not in knowledge; certainly in every way and in all things we have made this evident to you.
Here again Paul was defending himself in response to his critics. Apparently there were leaders who came to Corinth preaching a difference message than Paul’s – a message about “another Jesus”. We don’t know the details, but Paul is clearly concerned that the Corinthian believers are being led astray. Paul is also being compared to “super-apostles” who appear more polished than he. In v.6 Paul readily admits his skill of oratory are not on the same level. Two things come to mind for me.
First, it’s possible Paul indeed made some mistakes. We don’t know this, but Paul was not a god. Paul was human, like you and me. True, God gave him an astounding level of grace to be an apostle to the Gentiles, but Paul was not perfect. As leaders we have to be willing to own our mistakes if we’re ever to learn from them. That’s not always easy to do. Especially when criticism is harsh, it’s hard not to get defensive.
Secondly, haters gonna hate. Seriously. If you’re a leader there are some people who are going to criticize you no matter what. That’s just how they’re wired. They will tend to see what’s wrong before seeing what’s right.
Lord give us grace to be open to constructive criticism. We all make mistakes and need to grow. Help us to ignore the critics who take it upon themselves to tear other people down. Finally, give us grace to know the difference. Amen.