So I will boast about this man - but I will not boast about myself, except the things that show how weak I am.
If I wanted to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be telling the truth. But I will not boast, because I do not want any of you to have a higher opinion of me than you have as a result of what you have seen me do and heard me say.
But to keep me from being puffed up with pride because of the many wonderful things I saw, I was given a painful physical ailment, which acts as Satan's messenger to beat me and keep me from being proud.
Three times I prayed to the Lord about this and asked him to take it away.
But his answer was: "My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak." I am most happy, then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ's power over me.
I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I am acting like a fool - but you have made me do it. You are the ones who ought to show your approval of me. For even if I am nothing, I am in no way inferior to those very special "apostles" of yours.
The many miracles and wonders that prove that I am an apostle were performed among you with much patience.
How were you treated any worse than the other churches, except that I did not bother you for financial help? Please forgive me for being so unfair!
This is now the third time that I am ready to come to visit you - and I will not make any demands on you. It is you I want, not your money. After all, children should not have to provide for their parents, but parents should provide for their children.
I will be glad to spend all I have, and myself as well, in order to help you. Will you love me less because I love you so much?