Pastors and church leaders have always faced conflict and criticism. How do we maintain our integrity in the face of these challenges? Pastor and author Tony Merida points to the apostle Paul, writing to the church in Corinth, as a model to follow—one marked by the pursuit of holiness, love for others, and, above all, consistent proclamation of Jesus Christ. This is what it means to be an afflicted yet faithful minister of the Gospel.
12For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity3 and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. 13For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand— 14just as you did partially understand us—that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you.
15Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace. 16I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. 17Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. 20For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 21And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.4
23But I call God to witness against me—it was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth. 24Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.
1For I made up my mind not to make another painful visit to you. 2For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? 3And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. 4For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.
Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.