The apostle Paul endured a great deal of abuse: imprisonments, floggings, stoning, shipwrecks, etc. His back must have been solid scar tissue, as he had been beaten by rods on three different occasions and been whipped with thirty-nine lashes on five different occasions. He lived in perpetual pain and danger (II Corinthians 11:32ff). But maybe his most painful experience was dealt him by “false brothers” (II Corinthians 11:26).
They said about him, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing” (II Corinthians 10:11). Some people, Christians, compared themselves to Paul and declared themselves to be superior to him. They thought they were better speakers, better teachers, able to boast that their understanding of things far exceeded Paul’s wisdom. Paul responded to these self-righteous know-it-alls in II Corinthians 10-13. He said in part, “‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord! For it is not the man who commends himself who is approved, but the man whom the Lord commends” (II Corinthians 10:17-18).
Christians should never compare themselves to other Christians. Such self-righteous people put others down in order to make themselves look better. But it’s a delusional practice that ultimately proves the one who boasts is petty and self-serving. We would do well to remember Jesus’ words: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:14).