“Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Nearly all personal problems that Christians experience are related in some way to the issue of forgiveness. Some people need to understand how God’s forgiveness is extended to sinners. Others need to learn to be forgiving. In other words, some people are struggling with their own guilt, while others have a sinful tendency to blame others and withhold forgiveness.
This Sunday, February 3, I continue a 4-part sermon series called “Motivation for Ministry” from 2 Corinthians 1-2. This week I will use as my Scripture 2 Corinthians 2:1-12. I believe it helps us understand both sides of forgiveness, giving and receiving, and gives us a real life situation to practice both. My sermon is called “Compassionate Character“.
The Corinthians had a church member who had done something wrong. Some Bible teachers believe it was the man Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5 who had an adulterous affair with his step-mother. Others believe it was a man who accused Paul of wrong-doing. Regardless, Paul and the church confronted him to repent from his sin. Sometimes the most compassionate action we can do for someone we love is to make them face their wrong doing.
While the Corinthian church was reluctant to confront the guy, they eventually did. But then after he repented they were reluctant to forgive him. We tend to fall into two extremes: refuse to confront sin or refuse to forgive sin.
Paul issued a challenge: fully forgive and restore this repentant man. Obedience to God’s Word demands Christians do the hard work of church discipline and then do the hard work of forgiving.
Forgiven people forgive. Sometimes our love for others will cover a sin and let it go (“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8). But when a sin threatens to harm the sinner or the unity of a church, sin must be confronted.
Forgiveness is not just a theory. It is not something we simply think or feel – it is something we do. We are more like God when we forgive others than just about anything else we can do.
- Do you need to receive forgiveness from God or someone else?
- Do you need to lovingly confront someone who is trapped in sin?
- Do you need to fully forgive somebody as Christ has forgiven you?
Join us this Sunday @ 10:30 a.m.