"Most of you have already pointed out the wrong that person did, and that is punishment enough for what was done."- 2 Corinthian 2:6 (CEV)
I am sure when you read the title your mind instantly went to the song of the year, but let's look at the phrase from a different perspective. Don't get me wrong, it is definitely a catchy toon (see what I did there), but that's not the direction of this post.
Paul wrote the second letter to the Church in Corinth to continue encouraging them to hold firm in their faith and their role as the body of Christ. He knew there was tension in the Church, especially towards him and his change of plans to visit, but he wanted to guide them in healthier thinking with each other.
Forgiveness is a major theme, if not the main theme, of the Bible. The scriptures emphasize the concept of forgiveness throughout and we find the New Testament soaked in the message of grace. We as followers are urged to be the carriers of a forgiving message to anyone and everyone.
However, all too often, we find the church being a place that holds grudges or carries a record book of people's mistakes. Then, we find people walking out the door feeling judged, shunned, and unloved.
People who are broken are looking for a place of healing. People who have made mistakes are looking for a place that will lift them up. People who have been kicked around in the world are looking for a place that will clean the wounds. The Church should be that very place they seek refuge.
As we see in the verse above, pointing out the wrong is enough. People know when they mess up. People know when they have done wrong. They don't need someone holding it over their heads; making them feel worse about something they already feel bad about.
What is interesting, is in verse 7, we see Paul share: "When people sin, you should forgive and comfort them, so they won't give up in despair" (CEV). Then in verses 10 and 11 he shares, "...I have forgiven whatever needed to be forgiven. I have done this to keep Satan from getting the better of us." (CEV)
Our ability to hold someone's mistakes over their head can lead them despair. Our inability to move beyond our own hurt to forgive and move forward can open the door for Satan to get the better of us.
Have you ever thought about that?
Satan wants us to not forgive. He wants to win. He wants us to fall into the trap of holding a grudge and never allowing reconciliation to take root.
We have the ability to change the path for people. If we want them to lose and fall flat, then by all means, hold a grudge and point out their mistake every time you see them. Just remember, when God sees you, He just might do the same.
However, if we want them to flourish and understand they have a Creator who loves them unconditionally, then we might want to let them know we forgive them. We might want to share a message of grace and hope.
Just remember, if we do that, when God sees us He just might do the same thing.