In our last post we commented on how the Apostle Paul cataloged the common sufferings of God’s traveling ministers such as himself for the benefit of the Corinthian Church. He reminded them that the Apostles were frequently hungry and thirsty, and were abused and ridiculed by others. Now in verse 14 he explains why he is writing to them about these things:
I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. (I Corinthians 4:14 NIV)
Paul’s letter here is a warning. The church at Corinth needed to be reminded to treat the Apostles such as Paul with respect. It was normal for some Christians back then, and is still normal for some Christians today, to criticize and mock the very people who are preaching the Word of God to them. Those whom we ought to respect the most we ridicule and reproach. We are much more critical of them than we are in ourselves. Yes, pastors make mistakes. Sometimes they even sin, but we need to treat them with respect and show them love, rather than criticize them for every little thing and tear them down. Many Christians only interact with their pastor/ elders when they make mistakes, and then only to criticize. We must not do this, because we are only adding to the many pressures that they face in the service of God. We must be encouragers too. Do not be quick to justify your criticism of your pastor. Be patient with him and willing to forgive, as God is patient with you.