Vs. 5 – It was the sinner in their midst that was causing the pain and grief to both Paul and the congregation. The collateral damage of that sin, whatever it was, had affected the congregations in Corinth.
Gossip or rehashing the offense with others, only keeps the pot stirred and brings about a root of bitterness. Like any other root, the root of bitterness is hard to remove. Forgiveness…
My momma always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Some of us tend to focus on the failings and shortcomings of others without focusing on our own.
Vs. 6-7 – From what we understand, Paul had laid out an ultimatum for obedience to which the church had submitted to. And the sinner has received his punishment from the majority of the congregation…
The sinner has repented and Paul sees it as genuine repentance, the congregation’s discipline was severe enough and it had gone on long enough, accomplishing what it was meant to; to lead the sinner back to Christ and His Church.
Vs. 8 – Reaffirm their love for him… how do you reaffirm? What if that sin was against you? Ignore them, avoid them, not participate with what they are doing? When we do that we hurt the Church, especially our congregation.
Is that not how we punish one another? We don’t talk to them, we avoid them, we even ignore their reaching out to us, only saying what we have to in response, to their gesture of repentance. Avoiding any and all such gestures, would that lead to reconciliation?
If someone has offended you, has the punishment you have afflicted on them enough? Has it gone on long enough that you are satisfied? How will God feel about your righteous indignation and your unforgiving spirit?
That is not love! To reaffirm is to assert again strongly. Love is an action and we are called to, commanded to, love one another and, here, to reaffirm our love to the sinner who caused division or offence. Like Jesus on the Cross, we too are called to forgive when they know not what they have done.
We are commanded to forgive one another just as God in Christ forgave us, “And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ” (Ephesians 4:32). How did God forgive us? He offered you forgiveness in the midst of your sin. It would appear that this sinner repented of his sin.
The next step is, and was, forgiveness. It is required from each and every Christian. Forgiveness is for our own benefit, so that the enemy of our souls cannot take advantage of our weakness and sin.
When we forgive, when we let go of the hurt or offense, the enemy loses the opportunity, the place, to attack us.
The enemy knows where your pot is cracked, where you are your weakest, and he will take advantage of any weakness, any weak moment, using it for his ends to kill, steal or destroy God’s Church, which you are. Don’t fall for his schemes, don’t take the bait of satan and get hooked.
You are called to love and to reaffirm that love to the repentant sinner/offender. Sin is the failure to love. Jesus said, “Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another” (John 13:34).
This person who sinned or offended you is not the enemy, but rather, an imperfect, fallible, human being.
Just like you.
- Who is the one out to get you: your enemy? (See John 10:10, 1 Peter 5:8-9)
- Who do you need to forgive and be reconciled with?
- What are you sowing amongst the Church?
Further Reading: Ephesians 6:12, Matthew 5:21-26, Matthew 5:44-47, Matthew 18:15-17, 21-35, Philippians 2:1-5, Romans 5:10, James 4:7, Colossians 1:21-23, Colossians 3:12-15, Matthew 6:12, 14-15, Matthew 5:44-47, Luke 6:37, Romans 16:17-18, Hebrews 12:14-15