Saturday, 21 November 2015
Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly—and indeed you do bear with me. 2 Corinthians 11:1
Charles Ellicott’s commentary on this verse is very insightful. He notes that –
“There are two catch-words, as it were, which characterise the section of the Epistle on which we are now entering: one is of ‘bearing with,’ or ‘tolerating,’ which occurs five times … and ‘folly,’ which, with its kindred ‘fool,” is repeated not less than eight times. … It is impossible to resist the inference that here also we have the echo of something which Titus had reported to him as said by his opponents at Corinth. Their words, we must believe, had taken some such form as this: ‘We really can bear with him no longer; his folly is becoming altogether intolerable.'”
This makes great sense because Paul seems to have been under great duress concerning his relationship with the Corinthians. By using their own words back at them, he places the responsibility for their belligerence back on them where it belongs, but by doing it this way he cannot be accused of speaking inappropriately towards them as he is using their own words.
Whether this analysis is correct or not, it still sums up the content of this verse very well. Paul is asking for them to bear with him in a little folly as he writes, knowing that there is already a sort of wall between them which necessitated his words.
Life application: Human interaction, either verbally or in writing, is a learned skill. Refining this skill so that one can anticipate the words of another and then using their words to redefine the interaction is a brilliant way of maintaining the upper hand while keeping harmony within the conversation. It is most difficult to argue against one’s own words without looking like the belligerent in the conversation.
Lord, help us to carefully choose our words when we speak to others, especially during tense times where feelings could get hurt or anger could arise. Grant us the ability to stop and carefully evaluate the situation and then to open our mouths in a courteous and respectful way. May our words be used for edification and building up others, not for tearing them down. Thank You for being with us in this. Amen.