2 Corinthians 2:5-11 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

5 If anyone has caused pain, he has not caused pain to me, but in some degree—not to exaggerate —to all of you. 6 The punishment by the majority is sufficient for such a person, 7 so now you should forgive and comfort him instead; otherwise, this one may be overwhelmed by excessive grief. 8 Therefore I urge you to confirm your love to him. 9 It was for this purpose I wrote: so I may know your proven character, if you are obedient in everything. 10 Now to whom you forgive anything, I do too. For what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, it is for you in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we may not be taken advantage of by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his intentions.

The background for this passage is in 1 Corinthians 5 where we read Paul’s exhortation to the church to discipline a man who is sleeping with his father’s new wife.  For Paul, this is an open and shut case.  Tolerance must have its boundaries and Paul is ready to draw one here at this brash sin.  It appears, from this passage in 2 Corinthians that the man has now repented and so Paul exhorts them to restore him to fellowship through their forgiveness.

He says this is a confirmation of your love for him.  Paul’s call for discipline is never out of spite, anger or vengeance, but rather out of love with a desire for repentance and ultimately restoration.  It is an act of love, tough love.  But balance these two, “tough” and “love.”  We can go without the “tough” and put up with actions that are horrendous.  But if we only bring justice to bear and have no room for forgiveness, then we miss out on the privilege of expressing the true nature of “love.”

Love forgives.

Paul also warns against the danger of not forgiving; we may fall prey to Satan’s plots against us.  Bitterness, anger, resentment and jealousy are the fruits of an unforgiving heart.  Don’t allow Satan to win that battle in your life.

For our discussion: Why do you think people tend to go one way or the other, tough or love, instead of balancing them together?

0 replies
  1. Joshua Strakos
    Joshua Strakos says:

    Why do people go one way or another? Don’t know, but I can speak for myself – tough love requires constant vigilance, that is, running all my thoughts prayerfully through a spiritual filter and “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (ref. 2 Cor 10:5)…that’s a lot of work! It is much easier to fall back on what is programmed into my flesh, which tends to either be the cowardly laziness of tolerance or on the other hand, the spontaneous outburst caused by anger over something I disagree with or someone who rubs me the wrong way. This is a daily battle for me, and I believe God has been showing me the real meaning of spiritual warfare through the process of “taking every thought captive.” If I just take the time to prayerfully ask God how to handle even the smallest confrontations, I always end up with a clear conscience and clean heart, but if I react in either laziness or frustration, the situation usually gets worse…thankfully, as the song goes, “He’s not finished with me yet.”


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