May 18, 2014
READ: 2 Corinthians 2:5-13
I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven . . . so that Satan will not outsmart us (vv.10-11).
The French philosopher Voltaire suspected that he would win the lottery in 1729. With a statistician friend he calculated that the jackpot would be much greater than the cost of all the tickets. They pooled their money with other friends, bought as many tickets as possible, won and split the prize money. Outwitting the Parisian government paid big—Voltaire received over a million francs. But some people might think he didn’t play totally fair.
Satan doesn’t play fair either. That’s why Paul warned the Corinthian believers not to let the evil one outsmart them concerning the issue of forgiveness (2 Corinthians 2:11). In his letter, Paul referenced a situation in which a church member had engaged in serious sin. The other church members had opposed his wrongdoing (v.6) and later the man repented.
To fully resolve the matter, Paul urged the Corinthians to forgive, comfort and reaffirm their love for the man. Failing to do this might cause him to be “overcome by discouragement” (v.7). The man who had sinned would benefit from their forgiveness, but the other believers would also benefit. For Paul said that forgiveness would prevent Satan from outsmarting them.
The apostle wrote, “We are familiar with [Satan’s] evil schemes” (v.11). But are we familiar with this one? Maybe we’ve withheld full forgiveness because we’ve listened to lies like these: My emotions won’t let me forgive. I’ll just ignore the offence and avoid him.
True forgiveness prevents Satan from dividing Christians and destroying our relationships as the world watches. We can forgive each other, “just as God through Christ has forgiven [us]” (Ephesians 4:32). —Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Psalm 145:1-21 ‹365-day plan
Read Colossians 3:12-15 to see the responsibility that comes with being the holy people God loves.
How might a person’s spiritual life be affected by refusing to forgive a fellow believer in Jesus? How does God’s armour help us defend against the schemes of Satan? (Ephesians 6:13-18).