Paul Urges that Reaffirming Love Shows Forgiveness
Someone in the church had caused offense and sorrow to Paul and the congregation. The church was instructed to discipline him. Paul learned that the punishment the man had received from the church, led him to repentance. So Paul writes a letter to the Corinthian church to tell them to reaffirm their love for him.
2 Corinthians 2 – Paul Writes a Letter
2 Corinthians 2:1-4 NASB 1 But I decided this for my own sake, that I would not come to you in sorrow again. 2 For if I cause you sorrow, who then will be the one making me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me? 3 This is the very thing I wrote you, so that when I came, I would not have sorrow from those who ought to make me rejoice; having confidence in you all that my joy was the joy of you all. 4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not so that you would be made sorrowful, but that you might know the love which I have especially for you.
5 But if anyone has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow not for me, but in some degree not to say too much—for all of you. 6 Sufficient for such a person is this punishment which was imposed by the majority, 7 so that on the other hand, you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a person might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.
Paul instructs them to show him love, forgiveness, and comfort. His desire was the man’s restoration to God and the people. He had already forgiven him, and now he yearned for his lead to be followed.
The Corinthian church chose to obey and show Paul their love remains true by comforting him, forgiving him and bringing him back into the congregation.
Love was the motivation for the actions of Paul, and Paul wanted love to be their motivation as well. The action that Paul wants from them is true forgiveness.
Offense and Sorrow in our Lives
Offense and sorrow in our lives is a common occurrence. It comes to everyone from anywhere at any time. Do we see this as a test of our reaffirming our love to the offender, our obedience to Christ, and we no longer belong to Satan? When offended, we have a choice to make, to forgive or not. If not then this choice comes with lasting consequences.
2 Corinthians 2:9-11 NASN1995 9 For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. 10 But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.
What is the Purpose of Forgiveness
The first purpose of forgiveness through love was so the man (2 Corinthians 2:1-4) would not be driven to despair and then overcome with sorrow. The second reason is, this keeps Satan from taking advantage of us. God wants us to know Satan’s plans. And unforgiveness is definitely one of the ways he gains a stronghold in our heart. Satan will bombard us every day with thoughts about our rights toward those who mistreatment us. But this is not God’s way. We must know our battle and how to fight.
In preparing for battle, knowledge, wisdom, and understanding will give us the tools to know how to fight.
Satan’s Weapons Against Us
In 2 Corinthians 2:11, we will learn 3 tactics that Satan uses against us.
11 so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.
Satan looks every moment of every day for someone he can devour. He has 3 goals, kill, steal and destroy you. Unforgiveness gives him an open door.
Ignorance is not bliss. It will destroy us through demonic activity.
When we have a choice to make, Satan will attack our minds with lies. God wants our “bottom-line” to be obedience to Him. Satan wants us to choose ourselves.
We need to know unforgiveness is definitely a tool in Satan’s toolbox. To live in unforgiveness carries us straight into rebellion against God. Which pushes us right where Satan wants us, into darkness and confusion.
Unforgiveness is Darkness and Confusion
Unforgiveness, which is a sin, causes grief for the sinner and others. It leads to darkness and confusion through disobedience. This makes repentance and forgiveness vitally important to us. It also tells us they are to be activities we engage in every day.
Luke 17:3-4 NASB1995 3 Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
Jesus says we are to watch ourselves. This means to make sure we keep going in the right direction. The right direction is forgiving others.
Ephesians 4:30-32 NASB1995 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Unforgiveness Steals our Joy
There are many attitudes that steal our joy, and having the incorrect attitude toward forgiveness is one of them. Holding onto unforgiveness creates its own misery. Sinful anger and unforgiveness go together. These emotions will skew our outlook on life and harden our hearts. We become the judge and jury, declaring guilt without parole. And Satan fuels this destructive fire with all his lies. We then become enslaved into our past. With the Holy Spirit grieving, we lose our peace and joy. It’s like you’re drinking poison every day, expecting the other person to feel the effects. But it is not them that suffers it is you.
God Called Us to Forgive
God values forgiveness greatly. We know this because He sent His Son to die for our sins in order for us to receive forgiveness through repentance. Therefore, we are called to love and forgive, as God forgave us through His great love and rich mercy toward us. This is not really a multiple choice test because there is only one choice.
Colossians 3:12-17 NASB1995 12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Do not be ignorant of how Satan works in our lives. Make the determination to pass the test and show you are a child of God and forgive.