Sermon Passages: 2 Corinthians 2:5-11
Sin and evil are real, and pain really happens, but we must remember that we are sinners ourselves and we have been forgiven an incalculable debt. Christians are called to forgive one another as God, in Christ, forgave us. When we forgive someone who has sinned against us, we are making a proclamation of the Gospel that speaks loud and clear! The Gospel must inform how we regard people who sin against us. Forgiving others is an expression of the power of the Gospel in our lives and through us to other people as well. Consequences and punishment are just, but then our heart should be to forgive. That forgiveness must include real love - the sacrificial, agape love we have received from Christ. Real love means we are called not merely to forgive, but even to comfort the repentant heart so that our brother or sister might be restored to fellowship and walk in joy just as we, in Christ, are forgiven, comforted, and joyfully restored. We fulfill our calling when we forgive sinners and extend our love.