For in what respect were you put to a disadvantage in comparison with the rest of the churches, unless [it was for the fact] that I myself did not burden you [with my financial support]? Pardon me [for doing you] this injustice!
I have made a fool of myself in this “boasting” business, but you forced me to do it. If only you had had a better opinion of me it would have been quite unnecessary. For I am not really in the least inferior, nobody as I am, to these extra-special messengers. You have had an exhaustive demonstration of the power God gives to a genuine messenger of his in the miracles, signs and works of spiritual power that you saw with your own eyes. What makes you feel so inferior to other churches? Is it because I have not allowed you to support me financially? My humblest apologies for this great wrong!
The only thing I didn’t do for you, which I do everywhere else in all other churches, was to become a burden to you—I didn’t ask you to give me food to eat and a place to stay. Please forgive me for this wrong!
Well, now I’ve done it! I’ve made a complete fool of myself by going on like this. But it’s not all my fault; you put me up to it. You should have been doing this for me, sticking up for me and commending me instead of making me do it for myself. You know from personal experience that even if I’m a nobody, a nothing, I wasn’t second-rate compared to those big-shot apostles you’re so taken with. All the signs that mark a true apostle were in evidence while I was with you through both good times and bad: signs of portent, signs of wonder, signs of power. Did you get less of me or of God than any of the other churches? The only thing you got less of was less responsibility for my upkeep. Well, I’m sorry. Forgive me for depriving you.
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.
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