I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me. But just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting about you to Titus has proved to be true as well.
Thoughts for Today:Throughout Paul's letters to the church at Corinth, he had spoken truthfully about their behavior and the need for them to take corrective action. However, his boasting about them also proved to be true. How can this possibly be? How can a group of people be wrong in so many areas and, at the same time, still be worthy of praise? The Corinthians were perhaps the most carnal church ever recorded in Scripture: there was jealousy and quarrelling (1 Corinthians 3:1-4); sexual immorality, greed, idolatry, slandering, drunkenness and cheating (1 Corinthians 5 and 7); they were suing each other (1 Corinthians 6:5-6); and if all that wasn't bad enough, they had turned the Lord's Supper into a drunken party (1 Corinthians 11:20-30). Yet, Paul still had bragged about them to Titus. That might be shocking for me to do, but not so much for Paul.
Most people only give praise based upon positive performance -- and then only in direct proportion to the accomplishment. Thankfully that is not the way God deals with us. (1 Samuel 16:7: "But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'") Paul expressed a similar perspective when he said, in 2 Corinthians 5:16: "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer." Although the Corinthians were not acting correctly, Paul still believed they had "good" hearts -- therefore his praise was based upon his knowledge of their hearts and not just their performance. How much wisdom and grace would it take for us also to deal with people based on what is on the inside, and not only what we see on the outside (their action and outward appearance)?
Questions to Ponder:What do you see on the outside of those around you? Do you see the failures and inconsistencies or the heart and intent to do good within? None of us is perfect. We remain a work in progress. Is your attitude supportive of the work God is doing in the lives of others?