2 Corinthians 2:5–11 (ESV)
Forgive the Sinner
5 Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. 6 For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, 7 so you should rather turn to forgive
and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9 For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also
forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
The goal of church discipline is the restoration of the person. Paul calls the Corinthians, who have been diligent in punishment, to be even more diligent in forgiveness. When disciplining another, we often are tempted to do so legalistically, as if
the person has to earn our forgiveness. Such an attitude actually destroys grace, both in the repentant believer and in us. To the one who is truly sorry for sin, we are to forgive as Christ forgives us and to remember the sin no more.
I pray: Dear Lord, give us wisdom to speak Your words of judgment or grace always for the sake of our fellow believer and not for our own satisfaction or self-righteousness. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1983.