was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.
I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.
Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say,
or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the 'super-apostles,' even though I am nothing.
I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles.
How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!
Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.
So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less?
Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you. Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery!
Did I exploit you through any of the men I sent to you?