Bearing with fools

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: 2 Corinthians 11:16-33; Psalm 54:1-7

READ (Verses chosen for reflection)
2 Corinthians 11:19-20 “For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.”

Indeed, there are times when we would rather bear with fools than with those who are wise. We would rather allow the evil one to make slaves of us in the pleasures of life than to grow as a slave of Jesus Christ. We would rather tolerate a mishandling of God’s Word than to speak the truth in love. We would rather stay in our comfort zone than to take the effort to speak and care for a fellow brother or sister who sinned. Some would even rather be led by false teachers than to follow those who lead in purity, good conscience and a sincere faith. Some, even after being deceived would choose to stay on the path of unrighteousness.  Why is this so? Like the church in Corinth, people who would rather bear with fools were those who gave in to their own flesh. With itching ears, they tolerated and even accepted the ridiculous teachings of the so called “super-apostles”.

As a young believer, I once attended a mega church. I liked the sermons as they were easy to listen to and the jokes were funny. The sermons were largely humanistic. They would usually inspire a person to focus on God’s “promises” for material wealth and physical health; but nothing was being said about the need to die to self and seeking forgiveness for sins.

If not for God’s grace to help me discern the difference between false and sound teaching; I can imagine myself staying in that kind of church for a long time. Why? Because it appeals very much to my own flesh and it is easy believism. In some ways, when we give in to our own flesh in disobedience of God’s Word for our lives; we could be our very own “false teachers”. We “falsely” taught or tried to convince ourselves that it is alright to give in to sin. May the Lord help us during those times, reminding us to stay close to Him and strengthening us to do His perfect will.

Lord, help us to be aware that we can be our very own “false teachers”. May you convict, purify and teach our very hearts of things that are good and right and give us the strength and grace to obey. Amen.