“Now, … you should forgive him and encourage him, in order to keep him from becoming so sad as to give up completely”.
2 Cor 2:7 GNB
Disputes, controversies and conflicts have a way of running their course. Then there comes a time when people feel they have had enough and they need to move towards reconciliation. When groups are at loggerheads, or for that matter individuals as well, they start to feel regret that there are bad feelings and want to inch towards some kind of settlement or rapprochement.
Referring to the person who had been at fault in the church community at Corinth as a man, Paul says it is time for the community to take the initiative and forgive the man. He knew that if and when they did, both the man concerned and the rest of the church would grow and mature as a result. However, if they failed to do this, and just let things drift without making any move to restore the man to the church fellowship, he might lose his faith altogether. That would be sad for the man and it would represent a failure on the part of the church fellowship. They would have lost a person who might have been quite a valuable member of the community.
Forgiveness is healing, no matter what the context in which it is exercised. Forgiveness in Christ is also a growth experience and a learning experience for all concerned. Sufficient remorse should be shown. And restitution where this is applicable should be made. Apologies should be extended. Words of affirmation are very much in place and so are expressions of thanks. Maybe even some small celebration might be in place. And joy may seal the whole event.
Lord, help me to forgive and to be an agent of forgiveness.