2 Corinthians 2:5-11
5 If someone caused distress, I’m not the one really affected. To some extent—although I don’t want to emphasize this too much—it has affected all of you.
6 The majority of you have imposed a severe enough punishment on that person.
7 So now forgive and comfort him. Such distress could overwhelm someone like that if he’s not forgiven and comforted.
8 That is why I urge you to assure him that you love him.
9 I had also written to you to test you. I wanted to see if you would be obedient in every way.
10 If you forgive someone, so do I. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did in the presence of Christ for your benefit.
11 I don’t want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming.
The Apostle Paul is talking to a church who is not forgiving one of its members. I am not sure what was done, but what I do know, because of his other teachings, is that this person must have asked for others to forgive. You see, it is biblical that if you have wronged someone who you should ask for the forgiveness and if you ask another Christian, they are required to give the forgiveness. If someone does not ask, there is no repentance, and no forgiveness is required to be given. I am sure that someone is going to challenge me on this, but I am talking about a situation that is being dealt with in this church and this spans both letters that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth.
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things for anybody to do. When we get hurt, it is somehow in us to return the hurt rather than forgiving. Sure, some of this comes from that person not asking, but far too often I hear people saying that they just won’t forgive.
Paul says that in the case where it has been asked, and withheld, we risk overwhelming that person. Later in this same letter Paul states that Christians have been given the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, we are to fix broken relationships, not shatter the pieces even further, making things beyond repair. So when we are asked to forgive, we should, and in that, we strengthen that person and encourage that same pattern of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Paul tells them that by forgiving, they are assuring that person of the love they have from us. It is easy to love those who treat us right. Anyone can do that. But Christians are supposed to love like Christ loves, and we must remember that while we were still His enemy, Christ died for us, showing His love. Love is not warm fuzzy feelings and never having to say you are sorry. Love is patient, kind, not selfish and doesn’t keep track of wrongs, according to the Bible.
Far too many Christians miss being like Jesus when they don’t forgive. Many others miss feeling the love of Jesus by not asking for the forgiveness. Forgiveness is the act of giving up our right to be angry and instead of holding a grudge, hold our relationship with people higher than our pride. Far too many marriages crumble because they are too busy pointing the finger of blame rather than opening the arms in love.
I encourage you to ask if you need forgiveness and give it when asked. Satan wants Christians to hold grudges and act like we don’t love people. Paul says that we should not be outwitted and that we should know that this unforgiveness thing is part of Satan’s scheme. Kick Satan in the butt and forgive. You will be more like Christ if you do, and something tells me that you will feel better than if you continue to hold that grudge.