We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, YET regarded as impostors; known, YET regarded as unknown; dying, and YET we live on; beaten, and YET not killed; sorrowful, YET always rejoicing; poor, YET making many rich; having nothing, and YET possessing everything. We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. (2 Corinthians 6:3-12 NIV)
Definition of YET
1. but at the same time; but nevertheless.
“the path was dark, YET I slowly found my way” – from Google dictionary
Some Corinthians are questioning Paul’s authority to speak into their situation. They apparently don’t want to hear what he has to say. The result from Paul is an emotional and personal appeal. In one of Paul’s very long sentences he lists his credentials. It is a sort of resume from someone who shouldn’t require one. At the end of the resume he includes a lengthy list of paradoxes. The original Greek uses the conjunction that is commonly translated “and”, but several translations have chosen to translate it with the word “yet”. I think it is a good translation of what Paul is trying to communicate.
We all experience these kinds of paradoxes and more as we get older. Paul begins with two contrasts that capture the perspective of his readers. He knows he is genuine and sincere in his appeal to them. He also knows that he is known to them, as he was with them a brief time ago. Unfortunately, he is being treated as an imposter and a stranger.
If you string the rest of the list together you get this: dying, beaten, sorrowful, poor, having nothing. If we focus on this list it appears that Paul is throwing a pity party. Fortunately, there is another list: we live on, not killed, always rejoicing, making many rich, possessing everything. How can those two lists exist in the same person at the same time? I think the answer is perspective. When Paul looks at his earthly situation it is quite discouraging. Then he lifts his eyes to heaven and the Father who loves him, and the perspective is totally different.
The next time I want to throw a pity party I think I’ll try the YET exercise. For each thing on the pity list what is the corresponding YET on the heavenly list?
To my grandchildren:
I am grateful that there is always more than one way to look at life. I am very grateful that one of those ways is through the eyes of Jesus who loves me.