“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.” 2 Corinthians 2.5-11
The title of this passage from the NIV is “Forgiveness for the Offender.” As Paul writes to the church he writes about this forgiveness, perhaps from a specific situation, we do not know. Or, he is writing about forgiveness in general as it comes up in the church.
Paul is telling the church and us today that if someone sins against us, and it comes to light, the grief of that sin can be great and can be punishment in itself. (This is if the person is aware of his/her sin and if they know others know as well). If the sin is public, this could be the case. Paul writes, “The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient.” In other words, the sin that is made public either against an individual or the church is brought to light and this is punishment in itself. It makes me think that people were committing sins that were against the Body of believers.
Paul tells the church to “forgive and comfort him so he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.” I’ve seen this in my own experience and this principle is true. After having confessed grievous sin, if a person is not hearing the words of forgiveness and comfort from fellow believers than “excessive sorrow” may continue. The forgiveness brought by a believer in the name of Jesus brings healing. That is, if the person confesses their sin. If the sin is not brought to light and forgiven then Satan “might outwit us” and his scheming, as Paul mentions, is able to continue.
Forgiveness is crucial to not allowing the devil or sin to get a foothold. Perhaps the reason for our ongoing distress, depression or lack of joy in life is because we are still in bondage to sin, broken relationships and unrepentant hearts. I’m actually convinced of it! The devil, his demons and sin continue to have a hold on us until we are made right with God and others. As John writes, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1.9). The condition is “If” you confess. And when you do confess, he will forgive and we will be purified. Confession is an anointment for the soul.
So my question is this — have you confessed? Have you asked for forgiveness? Have you forgiven those who have hurt you? What are you waiting for? Do not allow Satan to take one more second of your spiritual freedom. Cut the ties that bind that evil and allow him to set you free from the wages of sin and death.
“O Lord God, it is amazing what festering sin and unforgiveness will do. It will take its toll on all parties, the offender and the offended. Thank you Lord for setting us free from sin. Thank you for allowing us to turn from it and towards forgiveness and not give Satan a hold in our lives. I love you Lord and praise your name. You overcame sin, death and the devils schemes! You set us free and have given us new life, purity of heart and soul by the blood of Jesus. Come now, Holy Spirit, make your way to us and into our communities. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen