2 Corinthians Day 11 - Forgiveness
2:9 For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. 10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
This completes the issue of forgiving, loving, and restoring the man we talked about yesterday.
As a pastor, and a person who grew up in church I can assure you we struggle with forgiveness as much as anyone. Not only do we struggle but we barely talk about it. I understand why. It's complex. It's painful. Emotions run high. Are they sorry? Should it matter if they are? I want to forgive but I can't. I thought I had forgiven so why are my feelings so strong? Why does it feel like it just happened every time I see them or think about them? I only did it once, I am sorry and I'll never do it again. Why am I treated like my one mistake defines me forever?
It seems so complicated.
In one of my churches I was approached by a member who I respected about another member and a sin they had committed. I was shocked. As the conversation continued I found out this sin had occurred decades before yet they felt more punishment was needed. In another church a member who had a moral fall was forbidden from doing certain things for years.
It sounds like a similar thing was happening in Corinth. A man made a mistake. He was sorry. The church wouldn't let it go. He was marked and defined by his mistake. Paul told them they needed to release him from their condemnation or the guilt and shame may crush him. Now he takes another step. He is testing their obedience. He has forgiven this man. He has done this for their sakes in the presence of Christ. In other words he is asking God to release the man from his guilt and shame on their behalf. Will they forgive him themselves?
Paul goes on to say that unforgiveness is a device of Satan. How? How does he gain the advantage over us by getting us to hold onto offenses rather than forgiving and letting go?
This comes down to a battle between following Jesus all the way, or slamming on the brakes and saying "I can't and I won't follow Him there. He can't ask that of Me!"
Tomorrow we'll explore where Jesus went for us. We'll explore what the step He took was that we too often refuse to take. We'll look at what happens in us based on the choice we make. Until then I invite you to take the time to watch this: