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12 I must talk about myself even though it does no good. I will talk about visions and things which the Lord has shown me.

I know a Christian man. Fourteen years ago he was taken up into the place where God lives. I do not know if he was in his body when he went or not. God knows if he was.

I do know this. He was taken up into the place where God lives. And again I say, I do not know if he was in his body or not. God knows if he was.

This man heard things which cannot be told. No person on earth can speak them.

I will talk about such a man. But I will not talk about myself. If I do talk, it will be about the ways I am weak.

Now if I wanted to talk about myself, I would not be foolish. I would be telling the truth. But I will not say any more. This is why: I do not want anyone to think I am better than what he sees I am, or hears me teach. I want him to judge me only by what he can see in me and by what I say.

Because the things God showed me were so wonderful, I might have become too proud of myself. But something happened and stopped that. It was like a thorn in me. It came from Satan [the devil] to trouble me. It came to stop me from being too proud.

I begged the Lord three times that this trouble might leave me.

But he said to me, `My kindness and strength is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is strong.' So then, I am very glad to talk about how weak I am so that the power of Christ may live in me.

10 So then, for the sake of Christ I am glad to be weak, to have people say wrong things about me, to be poor, to have people trouble me, and to have hard times. When I am weak, that is the time I am really strong, have been acting like one with no sense, but you have made me do it. You should have been talking about the good things I have done. The very best apostles are not one bit better than I am, even though I am nothing at all.

11 There are signs that show a true apostle. I did all these things when I was among you. There were signs, wonderful works, and other big works which I did. You saw the power of God, even though I was being tested.

12 In what way did you not receive as much as the other churches? Only this! I did not trouble you to pay me. Forgive me for the wrong I did you!

13 Now, I am ready to come to you for the third time. And I will not trouble you to pay me. I do not want what belongs to you, but I want you. The children should not save up for their parents, but the parents should do it for their children.

14 For my part, I am glad to spend what I have, and to spend myself for the sake of your souls. But it seems to me that the more I love you the less you love me!

15 All right then, I did not trouble you for any money. But some of you think that I have been mean and played a trick on you.

16 Did I send anyone to you to get something for myself? No!

17 I asked Titus to go and I sent our brother with him. Did Titus get anything for himself? No! Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?

18 Am I saying all this just to you? Are we just trying to make ourselves look right to you? No, we say this before God and in Christ. And my dear people, I have done it all to make you better Christians.

19 I want to be pleased with you when I come. But I am afraid I will not be. And I am afraid that you will not be pleased with me. I fear that I may find quarrelling, jealousy, anger, and that I will find you are enemies to each other, that you are spoiling each other's names, that you are telling stories about each other, that you are proud and do not obey rulers.

20 And I am afraid that when I come my God will make me ashamed of you. I am afraid that my heart will be very sad about you. Many have been doing wrong things for a long time. Many have not turned away from their dirty ways, their wrong use of sex, and the things they should be ashamed of.