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We are workers together with God. So we beg you: Don’t let the grace that you received from God be for nothing. God says,

“I heard you at the right time,
    and I gave you help on the day of salvation.” (A)

I tell you that the “right time” is now. The “day of salvation” is now.

We don’t want people to find anything wrong with our work. So we do nothing that will be a problem to others. But in every way we show that we are servants of God. We never give up, even though we face troubles, difficulties, and problems of every kind. We are beaten and thrown into prison. People get upset at us and fight against us. We work hard, and sometimes we get no sleep or food. We show that we are God’s servants by our pure lives, by our understanding, by our patience, and by our kindness. We show it by the Holy Spirit, by genuine love, by speaking the truth, and by depending on God’s power. This right way of living has prepared us to defend ourselves against every kind of attack.

Some people honor us, but others shame us. Some people say good things about us, but others say bad things. Some people say we are liars, but we speak the truth. To some people we are not known, but we are well known. We seem to be dying, but look! We continue to live. We are punished, but we are not killed. 10 We have much sadness, but we are always rejoicing. We are poor, but we are making many people rich in faith. We have nothing, but really we have everything.

11 We have spoken freely to you people in Corinth. We have opened our hearts to you. 12 Our feelings of love for you have not stopped. It is you who have stopped your feelings of love for us. 13 I speak to you as if you were my children. Do the same as we have done—open your hearts also.

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