THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS
Dear Father, help me to know and worship you with an undivided heart. Help me as I seek to lead others to worship you in spirit and in truth.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 2:5-11
Forgiveness for the Offender
5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9 Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Begin today by saying the Lord’s Prayer.
In this letter we shall find even more derogatory accusations directed at Paul. As if all his apostolic sufferings were not enough, he has to cope with regular abuse from other believers. People have caused him grief (v 5) – and it hurts. By this time, he had come to expect opposition from outside the churches. From the time of his conversion, Jesus had warned him that this would come.1 To be wounded by fellow believers, however, was a different matter and infinitely more painful.
This passage describes how the church in Corinth had disciplined one of its members. This is not the same case as that referred to in Paul’s previous letter.2 It relates rather to something that happened when Paul made his painful visit – indeed it may have been a major cause of the pain. Someone (a man) had verbally attacked Paul and publicly abused him. We speculate about his motives. The incident was damaging to Paul and the whole church (v 5). Now the church had taken the perpetrator in hand and made it clear that he had acted wrongly. This disapproval was probably all the punishment amounted to (v 6), but it was enough to provoke sorrow and bring redress. Now Paul urges forgiveness and the reaffirmation of love, adding that he too had let go of the offense and the offender, which is what forgiveness actually means (v 10). By letting go of animosity all around, no room is left for Satan, the accuser, to disrupt God’s good work.
Sowing hostility through relationship breakdown is a satanic ‘scheme’ (see v 11). It inhibits the flow of love and trust and happens often, even where it should not. It is a device against which we should continually be on our guard. It is hurtful, an abomination to God. Repentance and forgiveness are the only remedy.
Pray: ‘Search me, God, and know my heart … See if there is any offensive way in me.’3
Lord, I pray for the leaders of my church. Give them wisdom and guidance as they deal with difficult personal issues in the life of the church.
1 Acts 9:16 2 1 Cor 5:1–5 3 Ps 139:23,24
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