2 Corinthians 2:7-8 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.
A goal as Christians ought to be the restoration of the fallen brother or sister. Unfortunately, people will fall. And some won’t just fall – they will walk willfully into a sinful lifestyle. Sin is enticing, and Satan is a slick, dirty liar and deceiver. As we see in Scripture, we can’t condone sin. It must be dealt with in the church and in our realm of influence, lest it spread like cancer. However – and here is the thought for today – when a brother or sister is dealt with according to their sin, and when the world, flesh, and devil have chewed them up and spit them out (which they will), and when they realize how empty and vain the deceitfulness of riches and lust of the flesh is, and desire to get right, might they always know that there is a place where they can find repentance, restoration, and forgiveness.
Probably the greatest case made in Scripture for our responsibility to forgive is the one made in Ephesians 4:32: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”. How do we know if or how we should forgive one who is seeking restoration? “As Christ hath forgiven you”. That’s pretty deep stuff. If we compare our forgiveness to Christ’s, we’ll have no problem bringing the lost sheep back to the fold. I see three things we can do in these verses:
- Forgive – We ought to forgive, fully, and freely, as Christ did to us.
- Comfort – When one comes back, they don’t need the stick. They need comfort. Many times they’re hurting, shamed, and seeking to put the past behind them. Let us be the ones that comfort.
- Confirm our love toward them – It’s one thing to say we forgive. It’s another thing to confirm that love in our actions.
And so when the wayward brother or sister comes back, which many will, let us welcome them with open arms, like Paul, or the father of the Prodigal son, or like Christ. Let’s forgive, comfort, and confirm our love through our actions.