time again to co-respond
forgive me if I act crazy

reaffirm your love

In chapter 2 of 2 Corinthians, Paul deals with the response of the church to an unnamed offender.  In 1 Corinthians 5, there was the case of the man in a sexual relationship with his stepmother.  Paul was angry because the church said nothing about it; they seemed okay with it.  Some people believe that Paul is now dealing with the aftermath of the discipline that the church imposed. 
Still, verse 5 suggests that a different situation may be in view.  He says that “if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but to some extent—not to exaggerate it—to all of you.”  It’s entirely probable that an individual in Corinth has been attacking the apostle, for whatever reason.  Again, it’s not simply the possible slander that Paul is upset about.  (He’s a big boy; he can handle it!)  He’s upset due to the effect on the community.  His response, a letter of reprimand, is one in which he wrote “out of much distress and anguish of heart and with many tears” (v. 4). 
It seems that the church got the message—and now has gone overboard in its punishment!  Paul urges them to show mercy and to offer restoration.  He stresses the need of forgiveness, “so that,” as he puts it, “we may not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs” (v. 11). 
Are there people we are slow to forgive?  Do we harbor desires for continued retribution?  Can we see ways in which that serves evil?


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