Love to Forgive
Read This Week: 2 Corinthians 2
Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 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. 2 Corinthians 2:7-10 NIV
When we live in a community and have relationships with other people, we will get hurt. Sometimes we will get hurt badly. Other times our hearts will be completely broken. This is one of the most unfortunate, yet normative things about the human condition. No one with a properly functioning mind or conscience is immune. So, because of this inescapable reality, we must learn to forgive. It is essential to a peaceful, thriving, and successful life.
In chapter 2, Paul is writing to the Corinthian church about forgiving, restoring and doing life with a man that had hurt him personally and harmed the entire group with some destructive behavior. The man’s actions are not fully specified in the passage, but it does give a clear and practical approach to how he should be forgiven and provides an example for us today.
First, if we hold on to unforgiveness, it can lead to discouragement in our lives and in the lives of those who know and interact with us. Paul says in verse 7 that the man must be forgiven so that he is not “overcome by discouragement.” The word overcome can also be translated overwhelmed and means “to drown or be swallowed up.” The damage of an unforgiving life is collateral and negatively infectious. It can cause all involved to be consumed by sorrow and discouragement. We don’t want our hearts, or all of the relationships we exist in, to be overshadowed by dismay because we’ve failed to forgive others.
Secondly, Paul gives a stronger warning about something worse than discouragement in verses 10-11. He says that we must forgive through the authority of Christ so that our lives are not susceptible to further exploitation by Satan. Anger, bitterness, anxiety, depression, and resentment are just some of the ways that the Enemy takes advantage of us when we don’t forgive. Paul writes, “I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.” Satan has a big arsenal of weapons and an unforgiving life creates openings for His attacks. But, in Christ, we are victorious and we demonstrate that victory by expressing and applying His forgiveness.
Lastly, followers of Christ must love to forgive because when we do, we are committing a loving act, especially if the offense is malevolent or damaging. The Bible assures us here in verses 7-8 that the love expressed through forgiveness provides comfort to everyone involved. Forgiveness reaffirms love, consoles others and shows them God’s heart. When we truly forgive, people are built up, affirmed and ultimately learn more about the love of Jesus through our lives.
This is what I heard from God today in this chapter. Do not withhold forgiveness and restoration to someone who repents. When they sin, You are to forgive and comfort them. That is how I forgive and show you grace when you repent of sin. You are to reaffirm your love for them. You are to treat unbelievers with love and concern, hoping to win them to My kingdom. Do not cause them despair or discouragement by how you harbor unforgiveness. The enemy likes to take advantage of your mistakes.
Don’t let him take things from you that belongs to you in Jesus, things like peace joy, fellowship, a sense of forgiveness and victory. To withhold forgiveness from the repentant is to play into the hands of Satan. Is he trying to get a foothold in your life? You are to minister where I open doors. Where a door is opened, you can have faith in Me that I will bless that ministry. Your work for Me will be blessed when it is directed service. Trust Me to lead you.
This is a reminder to me that if I want to be forgiven, then I must forgive. We are to build up and encourage each other. Forgiveness will always free us up.
I love this line, Kathy: Forgiveness will always free us up. I heard someone once say that, “Forgiveness is the ultimate liberator of the soul.” Indeed it is. It frees us from oppression and the further exploitation of the Enemy.
In personal and work life there are offenders or people that cause stress/anxiety in our lives. It is important not to be taken advantage of by the offenders, but it is as equally important to forgive them. That is what Christ wants for us. To practice forgiveness and allow our hearts not to be consumed by hatred which comes from Satan. When we practice patience and forgiveness to others it allows us to become closer with Christ’s Love.
This passage ministers to me on a timely and literal basis. Thank you God.
I like the distinction between offenders and people that cause stress and anxiety, Javaid. They are different in degree and impact but as you said, equally deserving of forgiveness.
I also liked this line and find this nuance of forgiveness to be relevant to every person and every walk of life: “When we practice patience and forgiveness to others it allows us to become closer with Christ’s love.” Patience, forgiveness, and love seem to go hand in hand. We must be patient and show love before, during, and after one is forgiven.
God spoke to me through 2 Corinthians Chapter 2 verses 5 through 11. God is saying for peacemakers to breathe in my grace. Share my love, my Mercy, forgiveness, and my strength with others.
What that means to me is that we should bring honor to God, by revealing the love and power He has. We are to follow His example and put His teaching into practice. And bring praise to God by displaying the power of the Gospel in our lives.
This is beautiful, Jeri: God is saying for peacemakers to breathe in my grace. I love the imagery and truth of that statement. In order for us to forgive and be peacemakers, we must understand that we are forgiven and recipients of God’s grace that leads us to live out and express the peace of God.
Forgiveness is so important. Thank you for sharing, everyone. Thank you, Jason, for all you do for God.
If you are struggling the first thing is to give it to God so you can be set free! Here is a prayer to God then ask Him if there is anything He wants you to do when you can’t forget:
Father, (put their name here), please help me. I’m having a hard time forgiving (her or him).
God, I want to forgive (him or her), but the pain is getting to me all the time.
Help me move on in life with you and go forward the way you want me to.
But today, I choose to give it all to You – the pain, bitterness, and desire for revenge.
I give it all to you Lord. Please heal every part of me that is being affected by this situation, help me to see the truth and not be offended.
I release them to You, God, right now.
Please forgive me for whatever part I played in it as well.
Love you, Father God. Amen.
Heidi, I don’t know who else needed this truth and prayer but I know I really did. That is a beautiful offering to the Lord and a prayer of humility that we all could use to cry out to God on behalf of those who we need to forgive as well as those who we need forgiveness from. I need healing in this area of my life and I appreciate your vulnerability and heart to address such an important issue with spiritual authority and grace.
God gave me a song this week called, “Peace”
Having peace, peace, peace with our Lord
Who forgives and comforts
Thanking you, thank you for our freedom
No more chains; no more bondage
Living in peace with you, oh Lord
Sharing our love, joy, and hope
Knowing the truth, truth, truth
You’re our everything, everything we have
Having peace, peace, peace with our Lord
That’s so sweet, Alma and so true. When you have God’s peace, it just gets really good and seems to work out just fine.
God is saying to me, “I give you My peace, enjoy it and bathe in it. I have what you need.” Lord, may we always be in Your peace.
This is wonderful, Alma. Forgiveness always leads to peace and comfort. I know I want to live in peace as your song says.