Corinthians – Belief and Behavior
We do not like to confront because we are taught not to judge others. But when there is a person among the gathering of believers who is blatantly hurting others with their sin, then we must care enough to confront that person with compassion. Then the next step is to love them enough to lead them to and through restoration. Paul grieves with the church so much over this issue that he delays a trip to see them until he knows the church has dealt with it. He explains how to lovingly restore the person (mentioned in his first letter to the church in Corinth) who caused the problems. The ones hurt must also be restored as well.
This passage is short but packs a punch with profound wisdom with skills to deal with tough situations that arise in the church today. It is good to read slowly, with the insight of the Holy Spirit, to help us understand and walk through it with understanding. No one likes “drama” in the church but the church is made of imperfect humans seeking to be saved and restored, constantly on a journey to grow up in Christ. There will be drama. It is up to us to decide how we will deal with it. Paul’s words, inspired by God, helps us.
2 Corinthians 2, The Message
1-2 That’s why I decided not to make another visit that could only be painful to both of us. If by merely showing up I would put you in an embarrassingly painful position, how would you then be free to cheer and refresh me?
3-4 That was my reason for writing a letter instead of coming—so I wouldn’t have to spend a miserable time disappointing the very friends I had looked forward to cheering me up. I was convinced at the time I wrote it that what was best for me was also best for you. As it turned out, there was pain enough just in writing that letter, more tears than ink on the parchment. But I didn’t write it to cause pain; I wrote it so you would know how much I care—oh, more than care—love you!
5-8 Now, regarding the one who started all this—the person in question who caused all this pain—I want you to know that I am not the one injured in this as much as, with a few exceptions, all of you. So I don’t want to come down too hard. What the majority of you agreed to as punishment is punishment enough. Now is the time to forgive this man and help him back on his feet. If all you do is pour on the guilt, you could very well drown him in it. My counsel now is to pour on the love.
9-11 The focus of my letter wasn’t on punishing the offender but on getting you to take responsibility for the health of the church. So if you forgive him, I forgive him. Don’t think I’m carrying around a list of personal grudges. The fact is that I’m joining in with your forgiveness, as Christ is with us, guiding us. After all, we don’t want to unwittingly give Satan an opening for yet more mischief—we’re not oblivious to his sly ways!
What do we learn?
–Unresolved issues allow evil to work on the minds of those involved, never putting the issue to rest. Gossip rules.
–Treat others in sin like Jesus treated us. He forgave, without hammering us down with a life of guilt. Instead he gave life abundant to those who repent of their sin.
–Jesus remembers the sin no more. The slate is clean. What do we remember? Do we hold on?
–Satan would have us hold a grudgingly to all the details of the sin and outcomes of the sin, replaying it over and over in our minds. That draws our focus away from a forgiving Christ and impedes restoration of all parties involved.
–What breaks the heart of God should break our hearts. He hates it when His kids fight and sin against each other.
–God restores, through the work of His Son, Jesus Christ, with continued love for us. His love never fails even when we fail.
“Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.” Ephesians 4:27 The Message (MSG)
You have taught us to Care enough to confront and Love enough to restore. Transform me. Transform Your Church. Transform the world.
In Jesus Name, and by His power working in us, Amen