Good morning. We have been talking in some of our bulletins about reasons we should forgive. But there is one reason that we have not looked at yet. Open to our text this morning and read 2 Cor. 2:6-8. Also, read 1 Cor. 5:1-13.
The Corinthians had among them a man who had become guilty of ‘having his father’s wife’. Paul says that they should withdraw themselves from this man and have no company with him. The purpose of this action was “that the soul may be saved.”
The Corinthians obeyed God’s instructions. By the time that Paul writes 2 Corinthians, the “punishment” of withdrawal has worked. The man has repented and changed his life. Paul writes and urges the congregation to now confirm their love through their forgiveness and inclusion of the man back into the full association of the congregation.
Why should they forgive?
So this man would not be “swallowed up with overmuch sorrow,” so that he does not lose hope or help. Forgiveness frees, not only the one forgiving from the division caused by sin, but also the one who sinned.
Maybe you have experienced the frustration of trying to make right an offense you committed against someone, only to be rebuffed because the offended cannot let go of the hurt you caused. When this hurt is a sin against the Lord, we know it is vital to have it removed completely from our record. We need to be free of its guilt and confident we can still have fellowship with God.
Jesus shows us the importance of this emotion when he sought out the healed blind man in John 9. His jealous and spiteful spiritual leaders had wrongly cast the man out of the temple. In his thinking, that was his access to God. But Jesus sought him out and showed him that he still was in fellowship with God and with His Son.
Let’s us be sure we make the special effort to show those who have repented before God that they been forgiven so that their despair does not continue.
Forgive to be forgiven.