Forgiveness for the Offender

5 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

Paul was still referring to the incestuous adulterer throughout this passage.

Over the last few years I’ve been in discussions with people about forgiveness. There’s a teaching going around that you should forgive everyone no matter how much they’ve hurt you. The teaching is only half true. If that person has showed absolutely no remorse about wrongdoing – in other words, if the person has not repented – then you should not forgive. Otherwise, as Dietrich Bonhoffer said, “Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without repentance, baptism without discipline, and absolution without confession.” That doesn’t mean you should harbor bitterness and contempt for the person, especially if that person is deceased or 100% out of your life (or abusive). That’s where you give it over to God. You have to; otherwise it will destroy you from the inside out.

Now, when someone has asked your forgiveness for wronging you, you are to roll out the red carpet of forgiveness.

Presumably in this passage, the offender did repent and should have been forgiven.

With a passage such as this, though, there are probably people reading this who are harboring bitterness and anger over wrongs been done to you. You need to work through that bitterness. Because every situation is different (and complicated), and calls for different actions, it’s important to resolve the issue soon so it doesn’t eat away at you anymore.

If you need someone to walk you through this, let me know and I’ll try to help.

You need to be free again.

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I am a devotions writer and have been writing this devotional consistently for more than six years.

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