Forgiveness for the church’s broken fence
Click here to go to the Scripture: 2 Corinthians 2:1-11
When Paul visited Corinth previously there was a man who said some nasty things about him. Many people were upset about what he had said and the congregation disciplined him. And some people were still angry at him. Paul corrects them: 6 What the majority of you agreed to as punishment is punishment enough. 7 Now is the time to forgive this man and help him back on his feet. If all you do is pour on the guilt, you could very well drown him in it. 8 My counsel now is to pour on the love.
We keep the stone of people who had done something to us in our shoe for so long. Sometimes we forgive that person, but we forget to forget the wrongs. Every now and then when someone talks about that person we are quick to pick up a stone and join in. We shouldn’t do that. We have to forgive others like Jesus did.
But more, says Paul, we must care for the person. The person must experience that we care for him. He must experience our forgiveness. Instead of pushing that person to the cold outskirts of our relationships we must act in a way that makes him feel comfortable in our presence. The person must enjoy being with us because he experiences what it feels like to be cared for. Such a person will later care for others as well and enrich other people’s lives. And that is what Jesus intended. That is precisely what Jesus did for each of us and we personally experience it.
I received this e-mail from a person who had been on the receiving end, someone who had experienced forgiveness and care personally. I include his e-mail with his permission:
I’m the clever guy who pulled up his handbrake and the car hit the pole and gate, causing damage to the church fence.
I couldn’t concentrate at the service knowing I must tell the minister.
But he was so cool about everything. He just said: Don’t worry, I’ll sort it out.
I just want to say to that dear man again: Thank you. That was the quickest someone ever forgave me. I wish everybody was as forgiving as he was. Please tell him again I said thank you and GOD BLESS HIM.
That minister had practised what he preached! Someone had received forgiveness after he pulled up the handbrake and caused his car to run into the church fence. But more than that, he experienced care.
May others also receive it from us. May we, like Jesus and the Pastor, freely share Jesus’ forgiveness and may others experience that we care.
Where do you have to share forgiveness?
Who must experience that you care?
How should you do it?
Father, I really want to forgive. Yes, I want people to feel warmth and care. Please help me to forgive like Jesus did and give me the wisdom to act in such a way that others will feel that I care. Amen