“For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.”
Paul was not afraid to condemn sinful practices in the church. In fact, in 1 Corinthians he mentioned a Christian man who had been sleeping with his stepmother! His recommendation? Exclude the one who had committed this act until he repented.
Fast forward to 2 Corinthians 2 and we find a bit more of this story. First, we see Paul’s personal struggle with confronting the actions of a sinful believers. This is instructive for us, as it reveals the level of anguish we should experience when dealing with the personal struggles of our Christian brothers and sisters. Paul’s decision to exclude this man was not a cold-hearted manuever but one that involved sorrow and tears.
Second, we find in this chapter that Paul’s condemnation was not permanent. He was quick to note that since the one who had committed this since had repented and committed to change, the church community was to bring him back into the family. Why? The goal all along had been restoration, not retribution.
In our walk today, let us remember there are consequences for our sins against God. Let us also remember there is also forgiveness from God for those who repent and his forgiveness should extend into our hearts as we seek to restore those who have fallen along the way.
Dillon Burroughs is the author and coauthor of numerous books and is handwriting a copy of all 31,173 verses of the Bible at HolyWritProject.com. Find out more about Dillon at Facebook.com/readdB or readdB.com.