5 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. 6 for such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, 7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 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. 10 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, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. [2 corinthians 2:5-11]
forgiveness is never easy and never about one person. forgiveness is always a spiritual battle and always involves the body.
this passage shows the great impact of withholding and offering forgiveness. it impacts those in need of forgiveness and it impacts those who need to be freed from holding on to hurt.
today, slowly read through this passage again allowing God to speak to these questions. as you do, remember that in Christ, you are in his presence. he is speaking. he is longing for us to really know and live in the forgiveness he has given us in Christ. and, he longs for us to give this forgiveness in full to others.
- who needs to hear you say, “you are forgiven?”
- who has hurt you so deeply, you need to begin by asking God for the power and obedience to forgive? (forgiveness is an act but healing is a process. often this requires us to actively, daily forgive those who have deeply hurt us.)
- who do you need to ask forgiveness from?
- what happens when you withhold forgiveness?
passages that will help as you pray:
strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. see to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; [heb 12:14-15]
be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. [eph 4:32]
and you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. this he set aside, nailing it to the cross. [col 2:13-14]
~ john ryan