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2 Corinthians 2:5-11 “Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.”

In last week’s lesson on Sunday afternoon, I discussed the struggles that many in the church have in forgiving someone that has hurt them. (My sweet wife reminded me later that I had spoken about that already – sorry!) We talked briefly about the fact that when someone hurts us, we play and replay the event in our mind, and every time we see the person that sinned against us or hurt us in some way, the emotions and struggles rise to the surface again and we feel the same hurts and pain. This is what makes forgiveness so hard. Satan does a great job in causing division in the Lord’s church.

In the context of 2 Corinthians 2 Paul talked about the fact that he did not want to visit with them again and have another “painful visit to you.” (2 Corinthians 2:1). He shared with them how much he loved the congregation in Corinth, and how he did not want to cause pain as they dealt with a problem there. 

Paul had plans to come to see them again, but it was not on fleshly whims. He had preached to the Corinthians in all sincerity and wanted them to be sincere in their walk with God (this is a great lesson for all of us today). Paul,  Silvanus, and Timothy help him in his work at Corinth (Acts 18:5), and his preaching, (along with Silas and Timothy) was done in sincerity and truth. When Paul discusses the “yea” and “nay” he did not want to them to think he was variable and changeable. He meant what he said, and this was and is true of Jesus and God. Jesus was and is the “way, truth and the life.” (John 14:6). When God promises something, it is yes – it will be fulfilled. Sometimes we Christians struggle with this – do we believe that God has really forgiven us of past sins? Do we believe His promises to come again, even though it has been approximately 2000 years since these things were written? When God says something, he means it! “Amen” in this passage means all the promises made to men in Scripture will certainly be fulfilled. 

Paul helped them to see that the church was all in this together. There should be no deceit, no “fickleness” in what God has commanded that we do. God has established Paul in Christ (as he did for all of us when we were baptized). 

“True love for any person makes one seek to deliver the loved ones from wrong. Sometimes people uphold their husbands, wives, children, and friends in a wrong course, and say they do it from love. This is not true and helpful love. Love says get them pure and right before God, and insists on the discipline needed to purify them. Not to do this is to encourage them in their own ruin. A selfish determination to uphold one’s family or friends in a course of wrong is not love. It is really hatred, in a Bible sense of the word.” 

David Lipscomb and  J.W Shepherd., A COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMEMT EPISTLES 2 Corinthians and Galatians , n.d.

Beloved, have we failed in bringing back the erring? 

Do we care about those souls who have left? Do we pray for them to come back? Have we tried to bring them back? Will someone accuse us for not trying to bring them back? If we do not try to restore the erring, what will God say about us on judgment day?

Reach out to someone you know is not where they need to be spiritually.  Bring them back if you can! Souls are at stake. 

“Father, please forgive us for not seeking the lost, and seeking those who have left the church for whatever reason they have. HelppastedGraphic.png us, Father, to know what to say, and to say it, not with judgment, but with love.” 


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