2 Corinthians 2:1-11, How To Love Believers Who Hurt You

2 Corinthians 2:1-11, How To Love Believers Who Hurt You
1. Decide To Address Sin With Gentleness (v1-3)
2. Trust God’s Process To Produce Repentance (v4-6)
3. Eagerly Embrace The Time To Reconcile (v7-8)
4. Outsmart Satan With Forgiveness (v9-11)

Pastor Jerry Simmons teaching 2 Corinthians 2:1-11, How To Love Believers Who Hurt You

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from 2corinthians on Sunday, May 21, 2023 using the New Living Translation (NLT).

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There's something that I can pretty much guarantee you. It's one of those things you know, nothing is certain in life except for death and taxes, is the saying. But there's more certainty in this life. I think that I could offer. Here's something certain pretty much guaranteed. If you spend enough time with me, I'm going to hurt your feelings. Pretty much guaranteed. If you spend enough time with me, I'm going to offend you somehow and in some way, if I spend enough time with you, you're going to be annoyed at me at some point. It's guaranteed for sure 100%. Now how much time? That's a question, you know, for some it's 5 minutes. And for some it maybe takes a. Couple of years but for sure. It's going to happen. I'm going to rub you the wrong way and cause some kind of friction. This past week I was at home after a day of work and picking up my shift in helping to take care of Isabel, our little niece. And it was time for her to brush her teeth. She loves to do it. She volunteered to do it. She grabbed the toothbrush and she ran to the sink and I'm helping her, saying up down, up, down, up, down, left, right, left, right, left, right, up, down, up, down, left, right, left, right, up, down, left. And left, right, left, right, up, down. Up, down, left, right. And she said that's enough to you. Little 2 year old girl for the first time in her life, maybe. I finally annoyed her and she has enough of a voice now to say that's annoying. And she did so quite well. It's going to happen. We are all. Thinners who have been redeemed but are in the process of you, maybe put it this way, being rehabilitated. And so when we hang out together, when we spend time together, when we are in close proximity to each other, there is going to be some friction. It's just a matter of fact. It's part of the reality of our sinful nature, of our propensity to be offended as well as. And mistakes and issues that cause problems for others. And that's a little bit about what Paul is addressing today here in Second Corinthians Chapter 2. And so this is really practical for us and really great insight for us because well, we're all together in a room here and we see each other. Once or twice a week, we gather together even beyond that. That we have relationships with people all around us. That may be, you know, very lengthy as far as the amount of time. That we spend. With each other, or very seldom, and maybe it's somewhat seldom because of the offenses that have taken place and the problems that have happened. And what do we do with that? How do we handle those kinds of things? I've titled the message this morning how to love Believers who hurt you. How to love believers who hurt you? That's what Paul is talking about this morning. He's modeling it for us. He's instructing the Corinthians in it. How to love those people who are around you and they have in some form in some fashion, hurt you and harmed you caused. Some issues for you as a result of sin and so as Paul addresses this, we are going to be really challenged in our relationship with people around us who have caused hurt. And pain in our lives now the exact details about what Paul is talking about here are interesting and and mostly interesting in that we have not all the information we have bits of pieces that we kind of put together to really set the stage and to understand what it is that Paul is. Addressing here we have first Corinthians and some things that. Paul wrote there we have second Corinthians and what Paul wrote there, but it seems that there is also some in between that some additional letters that were written and some additional visits that had taken place. And so we're kind of piercing together. We don't have the whole exact picture in order to know exactly. Every detail about the situation, but at the same time we have enough that God preserved here for us to understand the principles and to understand the way that we are to respond to these kinds of issues. And I think many times God does this where he allows things to be vague. To not know all the details because his interest is not just, you know, recording all the gossip from 2000 years ago, but teaching us the principles of how to respond to situations like this. How do we respond when believers around us have hurt us when there is sin issues in the church? Were in friends, family, people in our lives that we love and yet are engaged in hurtful behavior and activity. I'm going to back it up a little bit to 1st Corinthians Chapter 5 to just start to set this stage. We'll get to see this a little bit more as Paul goes forward, but. In first Corinthians chapter 5, his first letter to the Corinthians, he has to address a situation of SIN that is happening in the church. As he has heard from Chloe that their household has come to let Paul know what's going on within the church and deliver some questions to him, he also hears the news and he responds in first. In Chapter 5 saying I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you, something that even pagans don't do. I'm told that a man in your church is living in sin with his stepmother. You are so proud of yourselves, but you should be mourning in sorrow and shame. And you should remove this man from your fellowship. And there in First Corinthians Chapter 5 is Paul hears about this situation, this sexual immorality that is going on, the Corinthians being proud of it, boasting in their tolerance of it. And Paul is instructing them. You've got it backwards. You need to address this sin. He'll go on in that chapter to talk about a little leaven leavening the whole lump that that you can't tolerate. This kind of sin in your midst, you need to address it and and to address this sin means that you are going to put this man out of your fellowship. You're going to say no, you cannot attend. On Sunday, no, you cannot attend on Wednesday night. And no, you cannot attend on Sunday evening. You you must stop showing up to church because of your insistence on. Living in sin, it's church discipline dealing with sin in the midst of a fellowship. This man living in sin is hurting the Corinthians, hurting the reputation of the gospel, causing problems with this sinful lifestyle, and so he began to give them instruction back in First Corinthians chapter 5. And how they're to respond to. But now in Second Corinthians chapter two, we have a little bit more history that has taken place a little bit more that has developed in this account and we'll get to see a little bit of Paul addressing that situation from First Corinthians 5, but also the interaction between the Corinthians and Paul. And some correction and some recovery and restoration that needs to happen there as well. Now it's important to note as we talk about these things this morning, we are dealing with and talking about Paul is addressing the issue of unrepentant believers. And it's a whole different scenario when it is an unrepentant unbeliever that we're dealing with in life and that is causing harm and involved in sin there. There is a distinction that we need to make. It's those who identify as Christians who are part of the body of Christ and yet are. Refusing to let go of and turn away from sin that Paul is addressing here. In first Corinthians chapter 5, as he gives that instruction regarding that guy, he also goes on to say, but I'm not talking about how to deal with sexual immoralities in the world. If we were going to have to depart from all of those, we would have to leave this world. Paul says that that is to be expected. We're going to interact with and spend time with. People involved in sin that are unbelievers, that's a different thing. And that's not a subject for this morning. Today we're talking about what about the? Those believers, those Christians, those brothers and sisters in the Lord involved in sin, hurting you to some degree to some capacity causing issues and problems within the body of Christ. How do we love those believers? And there, as we saw in First Corinthians Chapter 5, when it's insistence on not repenting well, the way that the church corporately loves that believer is they put them outside of the fellowship. But here as we dive into chapter two of Second Corinthians, we get again a little bit further along in the account. We get to see a little bit more of what is taking place here and making it a little bit more personal. We get to see how do we do that though on a personal level, how to love believers who hurt you. So we're going to start out in verses one through 3 for point #1 and that is. Decide to address sin with gentleness. Here's how to really begin. To love those around you who hurt you, who cause you pain, who have sinned against you or wronged you in some way. There needs to be a decision made verse one here of Second Corinthians Chapter 2, Paul says. So I decided that I would not bring you grief with another painful visit. For if I cause you grief, who will make me glad? Certainly not someone I have grieved verse three. That's why I wrote you as I did. So that when I do come, you won't or I won't be grieved by the very ones who ought to give me the greatest joy. Surely you all know that my joy comes from your being joyful. Paul here indicates that he had made a decision. Now again, there's some things that happen in between First Corinthians and 2nd Corinthians. We don't exactly know all of the details, but here's a rough idea of a possible scenario. There was this man involved in sin. Paul writes in First Corinthians chapter 5. You need to address that sin. It seems that the Corinthians didn't immediately apply his instruction. And so Paul. Has what he refers to as a painful visit. Notice in verse one, he says another painful visit. There was in between those two letters a painful visit where he showed up. And we know from First Corinthians chapter 16 that he had planned to go through Corinth a couple of times on his way back to Jerusalem. And so he was planning to go to Corinth, probably went for that first time that he had planned. But it turned out to be a really hard visit. You ever have those really painful visits, those those where perhaps it was by surprise? Hoped that it had already been taken care of, but now as he gets there there is some kind of. Worsening situation, not just the first Corinthian chapter 5, but perhaps there was some. Some fighting, some chaos over. This situation and removing this man from the fellowship and some resistance on that man's part, perhaps and and of course the the situation here as you continue on in second Corinthians is there's also some leaders who have kind of risen up within the church who have questioned the authority of the apostle Paul. And so now they're. You have these like, false apostles who are trying to supplant. Paul and remove him from authority and take that position of authority in the church. And so it might be, you know, this guy or it might be maybe one who is kind of taking up his cause and representing, we don't know all the details. Right. But whatever it was, you can imagine Paul showing up to the Corinthian Church and it's a painful visit. There's a lot of strained relation. There's some heated discussion. There's some hurt feelings. There is some refusal as Paul is giving exhortation and encouragement and and there is absolute no. There's attacks on Paul and against Paul directly and accusing him of bad motivations and and so there is this. Great battle this hurtful scene that unfolds there. It turned out to be a painful letter. I'm sorry. Painful visits. And so instead of going back to Corinth the second time like he had planned. He writes what he refers to as a severe letter. And a severe letter after that painful visit, he said. OK, I can't go back to corns, right? Now cause that's gonna. Make things worse. I decided the best thing to do. Is to write a letter to follow up to that painful visit. And so he writes a letter. He sends it. By the hand of Titus. They respond to that. There's some resolution that happens, and then as he hears back from Titus, then he writes Second Corinthians. You can kind of work through that and kind of we're again, we're putting pieces together. We don't have all of the exact details laid out for us. But putting these pieces together, we we get this picture of Paul. Not just talking about this one guy who you know was in sin, but but now him and the Church of Corinth have a strained relationship. Now there's a lot of hurt feelings between them. There's a lot of situations and and and personal interactions that have happened as a result of this situation, that kind of that. That man and sin kind of provoked it, but now there was this. Situation that Paul had to address, that it was going to be painful, it was going to be hard, he he had a painful visit. He had to write a very severe letter. In order to address. The sin of the Corinthian church. So he writes that severe letter. Instead of visiting, he made a decision. This is the best thing I've got a couple options here. I can show up again to Corinth. To address this sin further, or maybe I could write a letter. And he's deciding between the two, which is the best way to deal with this sin. Pastor David Guzick says Paul thought it best to give the Corinthian Christians a little room and give them space to repent and get their act together. He didn't want to rebuke and admonish them all the time. He didn't want to rebuke him and banish them all the time. I don't know if you've ever had those kinds of relationships. You every time you see that person, they rebuke you, or it feels like for you on the other, you're on the other side, where every time you have a conversation with them, it's like. You feel like you always have to scold and rebuke, and there is this this constant correction going on and and. And you understand that the strain of that kind of relationship. And so Paul is calculating some things. He's of course praying over it. It's not that he's, you know, all all on his own trying to figure this out. But, but he's making a decision, he says. I decided that I would not bring you grief with another painful visit if I show up right now. It's not a a good strategy for this situation. It would be better if I write you a letter. Give you opportunity to process it, kind of. Understand what it is that the Lord is saying to you and and start to make some steps forward and take some correction on your own where you don't feel like you know, I'm just like sitting there glaring at you, waiting for you to, to to start, to repent and to turn and get things right. I'm just going to write you a letter, give you some space. So that when I come again. I do plan to come again. I'm not giving up on you. I'm not, like writing you off this. This relationship is not over when I come again, I want it to be joyful and not grievous. Next time we had a painful visit already, I want the next visit to be a good visit. Verse two, he says. For if I cause. You grief, who will? Make me glad. Certainly not someone I've grieved. So if I continue to. Cause grief in this situation it hurts both of us. Paul is expressing here the desire for there to be a a restoration and a reconciliation in their relationship. That is why I wrote you as I did so that when I do come, I won't be. Grieved by the. Very ones who ought to give me the greatest joy and notice, he says. Surely you all know that my joy comes from your being joyful. I am gonna come again. I am gonna spend time with you. I I'm very hopeful that our relationship is going to be restored. And that's why I wrote to you. But it was hard to write to you. Paul is explaining because, well, I knew it would grieve you. And I'm not trying to grieve you. But but I'm trying to give you an opportunity to respond to the situation so that when I do come again, we can have a joyful visit, a joyful relationship. That's why I wrote to you as I did. That's why I made that choice. That's why I decided that way to address sin. With gentleness, I decided the best way was for me to write you a letter instead of showing up again for another painful visit. Gentleness Paul is concerned, although. Addressing wrong on their part. His concern is gentleness. And addressing that wrong, that's hard for us sometimes. They're the ones in the wrong. Why do I have to be gentle when they weren't gentle? That's part of the problem, right? But but here is Paul, who's been hurt by the Corinthians in their response to this situation of sin in their handling of the situation and in their relationship with him, and and what they've allowed and. People questioning Paul and attacking Paul, they've. They've caused hurt and harm towards Paul. And Paul's there doing the calculation saying what's the most gentle way I can address this sin and the hurt that they've caused. I know it's going to be hurtful to them. It's not an easy situation. Sin situations and situations where hurt and harm has been caused. They're they're never easy. Again, the question here is how to love. Believers who hurt you. And it's love for those people, even who have hurt us. That bring us to the point where we understand we need to address the sin. We can't just let it go. That's not loving. We need to address it. But how do we address it? Because Ohh man, it's going to be hard. It's going to be painful. Pastor Warren Wisby says Paul knew that his words would wound those he loved, and this brought pain to his heart. But he also knew. That there's a big difference between hurting someone. And harming him. Sometimes those who love us must hurt us. In order to keep us from harming ourselves. He knew there would be. Wounds, as he wrote that severe letter. He knew there would be some grief as a result. But Paul is doing. What he must do because of his love for the Corinthians. And the temporary hurt is not harmful. It hurts, but it's beneficial. It's not harmful. He's not doing wickedness or evil towards the Corinthians. He is bringing a little bit of pain, a little bit of grief in order. To address the sin and bring them out of that continued situation. The difference between Hertz? Proverbs tells us in proverbs Chapter 27 and open rebuke is better than hidden love. Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. There is the reality. There is the potential. That in some situations in your life where there has been hurt inflicted upon you. Offenses directed at you. That you out of love for others out of love for Christ. You have a responsibility to address sin. And there is many times an avoidance of this because. Well, we know it will be hard. We are afraid it's going to blow up and make things worse. We we know that there's going to be, you know, some misunderstandings and some grief. And and there is a lot of avoidance that we can have many times. Husbands and wives. Maybe you can think about it this way. Perhaps marriage is the arts of learning how to address sin frequently. Because, well, who are we with the most? And so who do we hurt the most? Who do we offend the most? Who do we? Annoy the most. And so you know how to pray for my wife because I hurt her the most. I annoy her the most. You think isabel's? Annoyed with me, you. You should see what she Has to put up. With and, I would encourage you to be especially exceptionally gracious to Kim. Because, well, she has to learn the art of how to address sin frequently, and, you know, being the wife of a pastor that puts her in a unique situation. And I would maybe just extend this a little bit more and say, be exceptionally gracious to all pastors wives. Because they're not just a more husband and wife, but also we have these roles within the church. And the pastor of the church is the one who hurts. Her the most frequently. The pastor of the church is the one who. Is most annoying in her life. She won't say that. Otherwise she would be the person who hurts me the most. No, I'm just kidding. But you need to understand that. There is going to be these. Difficulties in our relationship and and we can't just let everything go. That this is not to say that every issue and every offense that you ever get you must, you know, make an issue of and make sure that there's an apology for every instance of every sin. You bring it somewhat like a court case. Alright. There's been 27 counts of. Offense that you've brought against me, you've insulted me these 27 times. I need to hear 27 apologies for each one of them. Like, it's not like. Right. But the issue here is the the idea of ongoing sin, that sin that is continuing to happen, that sin that is taking place and and not being dealt with continues on and just gets worse and worse and causes more and more damage. And so Paul. Has to address this situation for the sake of the Corinthian church. Not for him. Even though part of it was an attack against him, they allowed and put up with but. But it's not for him. It's not for his benefit. The Corinthian Church would be severely damaged if he would not address this situation. And so he goes to open rebuke. It's better than hidden love. It's not easy. But he has to address the situation. The enemy, those false teachers in the midst, they're offering many kisses. We're all wonderful. Let's tolerate this man of sin. Get rid of Paul. He's too harsh. He's too bitter. He's an old guy. We don't need him anymore. Right? Like they're they're saying all kinds of nice things that people are. Ready to accept? But here's Paul saying. But I need to tell you the truth. I need to address this issue of sin. Decide to address sin, but with gentleness. And Paul could have stormed back in there after that painful visit and he festered a little bit. And he said, you know what? I've thought of some really good responses to all those insults. You slurred at me and so I'm coming back here to tell you all. The responses that I wish I had said the first time around. No, no, he he's like, what can I do? How can I address this? What's the most gentle way? To help the Corinthians understand. To help them be able to address it. This is a. Great model for us. Sin with gentleness make that decision. Don't let it. That's not loving. Don't just let sin continue to fester and cause more problems. That's not loving address it. But be strategic and think about. Obviously, being tremendous prayer about how can I do this gently? Lord, what's the best way? To approach this, to address this, to bring up this conversation and address this issue, well, point #2 is we continue on in verses 4 through 6. We've decided to address the sin with gentleness. Now we need to trust God's process to produce repentance. We need to trust God's process. He's given us instruction for how to approach these kinds of situations. And so we need to do what God says, addressing it with gentleness, and then trusting him to produce the results. That need to be produced verses 4 through 6 says this. I wrote that letter in great anguish with a troubled heart and many tears. I didn't want to grieve you, but I wanted to let you know how much love I have for you. I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. Most of you opposed him. And that was punishment enough. As Paul continues on here again, he's explaining why he. Wrote the letter. He said it was really hard. I was in great anguish. There was a lot of conflict there. But he's giving the indication here. That the letter served its purpose. The man being addressed and again there's some question. Is it the man who is involved in sexual immorality, or is it a man who was like a guy trying to be a leader within the church and taking the side of the guy in sexual immorality and attacking Paul in kind of defending that guy? What we don't know exactly. But this opposition that came. Paul says it's been dealt with. The steps were taken the right course. So he's able to say at the. End of her six. That was punishment enough. And we'll see in the coming verses that there has been. To even make it appropriate now for there to be reconciliation and restoration. After a painful visit that might have seemed impossible. And even writing a severe letter, it might have seen seemed like I I don't know if this is going to turn out OK. I mean this is going to be pretty difficult to see any kind of good out of this. And we can all relate to that and understand those strained relationships and those times where it just seems like there will never be a recovery. There will never be a reconciling between these people. But listen, if there is ever any hope. Of repentance and reconciliation. God has the best method for accomplishing it. There's never going to be repentance and reconciliation where we come up with the best idea of. How to accomplish that? There's never going to be the, you know that we have the insights into over what God has said. This is how we ought to do it. This is the best way to approach it. This is important to understand because many times when it comes to sin issues. And dealing with people who have hurt us, we don't pay much attention. To what God has prescribed for these very situations. And so we need to know what God has said, and we need to trust the process that he has put in place. Here's an example of some of the instruction that God has said in regards to this in Matthew Chapter 18. Jesus says if another believer sins against you. Go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful. Take one or two others with you and go back again so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen. Take your case to the church. Then, if he or she won't accept the church's decision, treat that person as a Pagan or a. Corrupt tax collector. Here Jesus outlines for us the steps to take. In what situation he lays it out there in verse 15, if another believer sins against you. Here is specifically how to handle a situation when again, we're talking about believers, not unbelievers. So people in your life who know the Lord who walk with the Lord people in the life, who are your life, who are in the church. Or people in the workplace. Not part of your church, but. They know the Lord, their believers, people in your family who are believers. This is how to respond as those people sin against you. Those people in your life and Jesus here outlines this process. First go privately. Have a conversation. And the the hope is the desire is that after that conversation that there can be reconciliation as the person recognizes the sin issue and turns from it, confesses it, that is agrees with you and agrees with God about the sin issue. Well, then you've won that person back. But if that first conversation doesn't go so well and it doesn't end with confession and repentance. Then take one or two others. And the idea here is not take one or two others so that you have a stronger case. The idea is take one or two others. That can help give perspective to the person that you're addressing so that they can hear it from a few different sides and understand here's three people who love me and. They're all saying the same thing about this situation. And again, the hope is. After that conversation, there is confession and repentance. But if there's still not. Resolution to the problem. The sin is ongoing. Again, this is not about securing an apology. Don't don't mistake. That's a big mistake to to think that this whole process is all about securing a an apology that satisfies you. That's not what this is about. This is about. Dealing with ongoing sin to bring people to a place where their back restored to fellowship with God and the community of believers around them. If they still refuse to listen after those first two conversations, then address it with the church. Now it scales up a little bit. It becomes more public and as it becomes more public as the church decides as the church weighs in, if that person will not respond to the church's decision. You're to understand them to have a perspective on them. They are unbelievers. That doesn't mean that you hate them and throw rocks at them. And how are we to treat unbelievers? Well, we're to treat them with love and grace. And mercy to. Hopefully bring them to repentance. So it's not now you have license to hate them even then, you know the the call to love remains strong all the way through this. But this is the process that God has established, and you can spend some time in Matthew Chapter 18 to consider that. But this is also what I mean when I say a lot of times we have issues, we have this a believer sins against you, but we don't trust the process. You're not trusting God's process if you're. Talking to other people about it before you've talked to the person who has offended and hurt you. Jesus says if someone sends against you, go privately. And have that conversation with them. But many times what happens is we don't do that. We skip that part. We don't go privately, we go to other people privately, we go to my friend privately and then my friend #2 privately. And then. My friend #3 privately. We have all. These other private conversations about this sin that has happened, and this hurt that has been brought to us, but but we don't trust the process and go to the person that has caused the offense. Now we have really good reasons why we do that, right? Well, I can't figure out the right way to address this. I'm trying to figure out I'm trying to think about like. I mean I want to do what the Bible says there in Matthew Chapter 18. But you know, I just, I don't know the right way and I'm trying to figure out the right words to say. If you can't figure. Out point #1 how to address the sin in gentleness? I would encourage you to consider that's why God has placed spiritual leaders in your life. Friends are not the same thing as spiritual leaders, spiritual authorities that you can be submitted to. They are there to guide you and so if you can't come up with a gentle way to address the sin issue, then I would say refer to your spiritual leaders, not to your Facebook friends or acquaintances or family members of those people who will not have authority and not give account for your life. Trust those that God has entrusted you to. We need to follow what God says. We need to trust the process now part of trusting the process is. Taking the first step, but we also need to understand in the midst. Of that, it's not always going to go smoothly. And Matthew 18 clearly illustrates that right. The the very instruction that Jesus gives have the conversation. Also understand it may not go well. You may not get immediate response. It's not going to be resolved after one conversation in many cases. And we see that play out with Corinth. First, Paul writes the letter. Then he has a painful visit. Then he has to. Write a severe letter. Then he writes this letter, still addressing it, then finally he's going to visit later on. After this letter is delivered. It's a long process. When you walk through it. Here's a quick timeline of how this all may have played out. This is not necessarily meant to be exact exact, but. Paul Paul brought the gospel to Corinth around 53 AD, acts chapter 18. He wrote first Corinthians around 55 AD couple of years later, while he's in Ephesus, Chloe from Corinth visits Paul for Sprint in chapter one. He talks about that. And so he writes in response in 57 AD to those questions and addressing the issues that we worked through there in First Corinthians. Around that same time, Paul visited Corinth for that second time. That was the painful visit. Soon after that, Paul sent Titus to Corinth with a severe letter. He references it here in Second Corinthians chapter 2. It's as much as a year later when Paul writes Second Corinthians. There's time that's passing. This is all happening over a couple of year time span and. After that, he'll visit 1/3 time, also in 58 AD, but 57 and 58 two year time span. Now they could be. You know, you know how years go right. Sometimes you're in December and sometimes in your January. So we have fun saying, hey, I haven't seen you for a year. And it's only. Been two weeks, right? It it could have been condensed or it could have been as much as two years, but. We're not talking about days. We're not even talking about weeks. We're at least talking about months. Of this situation going on and communication going back and forth and resolving this is not taking care of in one meeting and one go. It is a process that develops over time. And so you have to trust the process that God has established. It may not go well in the first conversation. You have to trust God to start the process and then you have to start the process and trust that God is going. To bring about. The repentance that is needed. As the process continues. But it's kind of an escalation. It's kind of a duration of time that passes. Paul says in verse four I wrote that letter in great anguish with a troubled heart and many tears. I didn't want to grieve you, but I wanted to let you know how much I love I have for you. Why did Paul write the severe letter after? He had that painful visit. If he was like us, he might have been tempted to just storm out of there after a painful visit and say I'm never talking to you again. This is over. You are dead to me. What a painful visit. I don't want to have. That happen again. Paul trusted the process. Said I need to address this. And so he wrote the letter. He determined this is the best way to address the sin of the Corinthians. The hurt that they have inflicted on me in this painful visit. I'm going to write a letter. But I didn't do it. To hurt you. I did it. To let you know how much. Love I have for you. And so, Paul, trust God's process. He addresses it. He didn't want to address it, but he had to address it. Paul had enough going on. Aside from this whole situation with the hurt that the Corinthians had inflicted upon him. In second Corinthians chapter one, he talks about how they were expecting to die in Asia. They they had all this this difficulty in affliction that he was experiencing in the ministry elsewhere and then on top of that he has this. Hurts and offense and sin that he's trying to help them resolve back there at Corinth. He had enough to deal with. He didn't need extra stuff. He wasn't just, you know, stirring the pot and making things worse, he. He was overwhelmed with grief. He was already in over his head, overwhelmed. Dealing with great difficulty. It would have been easy for him to just walk away and say, you know what, I've had enough. I don't need to deal with this. There's open doors over here. There's other opportunities, he says. No, I need to. Trust the process that God has established. And do my part. To help bring about the repentance. In this situation. In verse five, he says I'm not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurts me again. There's this person that's in the center of this. Caused all kinds of trouble and Paul says, look. It's hurting the church. Yes, it was aimed at me. It was attacking me. But but it's hurting you more. And so I'm addressing this to you so that you can turn around and follow my example and address this with the situation that is going on there. And they did. Most of you opposed him. It says in verse 6, and that was punishment enough. And the outline that Jesus gives you finally bring the issue to the church and the. Sinning party does not listen to the church. Then they are to be removed. That's the instruction that Paul gave back in First Corinthians chapter 5. Put him out of the church. Throw this man out, he said in verse five of First Corinthians 5. Though this man out hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature would be destroyed and he himself will be saved on the day the Lord returns. He goes on to say, hey, you're boasting about. This is terrible. Again, it's like a little yeast that works its way through the whole batch of dough. Get rid of this yeast by removing this wicked. Person from among you. Paul's point here is you can't just let sin go on and faster and continue. You have to take action. You have to address it and trust God's process. So that you do it the right way, that you don't wanna try to address it with your own wisdom or what you desire or what you want, but you follow. The instruction that God is given. And that's hard. Notice, he says here in verse six, most of you opposed to him. He didn't get buy in from the whole church. The majority of the church took the steps. Took the action that was prescribed. But not everybody can get on board with that. Not everybody was like, yeah, I agree with that we need. To do that. We've had situations here, most of you. We're not here for many. Of those but. You understand there is some conflict and some like. Ohh that seems so harsh. Like how can. We do that. Here's something to understand about this issue of church discipline and and addressing sin in this way. It helps people recover from the delusion, the blindness that has been. Set there by the enemy. Because when someone is continuing on in sin. They have believed the lie. Of the enemy. And they've said I can live this way. And be right with God. They've believed that lie. I can live in sin and be right with God and have fellowship with the believers. And when we believers? Say no, actually you cannot do that. We're challenging that. They don't like that people don't like that. Never like that. But but it needs to be done to help them see through the delusion that they've bought into. And so here is broken fellowship. To illustrate the reality of your broken fellowship with God that you can't see because you've bought into, you've believed the lie. Of the enemy. And so we. Engage in this process. We address sin issues because we love the people that are hurting us in their sin. To help bring them out of the delusion that they have believed the lies of the enemy and think that it's OK to disregard what God says and continue on in a path. Trust God's process. To produce repentance, he knows what's best. He knows what people need. He's given us instruction for how to handle these situations. If there is ever going to be reconciliation, if there's any hope for repentance. God has the best method to get that done. It's not always going to be easy, sometimes it's going. To be months. Long as a process or maybe even years long. Some occasions will be over in minutes and we love those absolutely for sure. But trust God's process. So get started in it. Continue in it. And continue to work through. Those issues of hurt and pain and sin that are causing those problems. Well, verse seven and eight gives us point #3 eagerly embrace the time to reconcile. Verse 7 says now. However, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise, he may be overcome by discouragement. So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him. The time to reconcile. As bad as it was for the Corinthians to refuse to address the sin, to celebrate and tolerate the sin. It was also bad. Now they're going. To the other side, they're in danger of taking that addressing of sin too far. And so Paul writes this letter here, second Corinthians, chapter 2. This is like live action happening right then as he's writing that. Hey, guys, it's time for you to forgive and comfort him. Many times we perhaps have in our mind the idea of excommunication, church discipline, that kind of thing, and and we. We understand it to be a permanent, unchangeable situation, right? But that is not the way the Scriptures address this kind of thing. Now there are churches that might take that stance, but that's not the biblical stance. It's not permanent. It's always meant to be temporary. It's intended to be temporary. So that when there is repentance, when there is a change and a turning back to God that there is restoration and reconciliation. And that's why Matthew Chapter 18, Jesus walks us through that. Hey, if the first conversation you have privately with that person who hurts you, if it's resolved at that point, great. No need to proceed. To further step. No need to go tell everybody else about the hurt and pain that was inflicted and caused. No need to escalate this any further. Is repentance, restoration, reconciliation. But the we're not ready to do that yet. Polls now having the right instruction again. Now it's time. I wrote the severe letter after the painful visits. And you took action finally. That person repented. But as Paul writes, Second Corinthians, they're still excommunicated. Think about that. This isn't an e-mail, right? We just type it, send boom 30 seconds later. Time to bring this guy back in. Think about this guy who? Had brought hurt and. Pain caused issues, attacked the apostle Paul. The Corinthian Church did what they needed to. Do they took action? Withstood and the problem not everybody was on board. Most opposed most, you know, followed Paul's instruction and it was. There's repentance, there's a turn. And so now it's time. For this person to be. Brought back into the fellowship. But there's some time that elapses. As Paul writes this letter and sends it. First, he has to hear about. So there's some time we're traveling from Corinth by foot or by boat. Days, weeks passing. Paul gets word. Paul Wright, second Corinthians days, weeks passing to get word back to you, Corin. There's some time involved where this guy has repented. He's back where he needs. To be with the Lord. And the church is. Nope, Nope, Nope. Nope, we don't trust you. We don't believe you. You're in sin. Break fellowship with you continually. Paul says no. Now it's time. Forgive and comfort him. You see this guy was. Kept out of fellowship, a little bit longer than he needed to. Because the Corinthians were overzealous. In their response to the severe letter in their response to the correction that Paul applied to them. It's something that all of us. Can can, yeah, can potentially fall into. Overzealous in our addressing of sin. In our breaking of fellowship. And so we need to have this posture. Of readiness eagerly embracing. When it's time to reconcile, forgive and comfort him, Paul says. Sometimes we get confused about this whole situation of dealing with sin and we. Think it's our. Job to punish. Well, the timeout is not long enough. You stay in the corner for another 10 minutes. But it's not our job to punish. You're not the parent in this situation. I mean, OK, if it's a child, your child and you're the parent. Well that that's your parent child relationship and it is your job to punish, but for other believers around us, it's not our job to punish. It's not our job to decide. Well, they haven't suffered long enough. They didn't feel the hurt long enough, you know? So we got to continue. So when there is repentance, when there is a confession, now it's time to reconcile. Now it's time to forgive and comfort. Jesus says in Luke chapter 17. If another believer sins, rebuke that person. Hey, notice that it's the process someone sins against you. Then you bring the rebuke. Then if there is repentance, forgive. That's the response. That's how we are to react to repentance. Well, what if they haven't suffered long enough for the hurt that they've caused? Well, that's not up to us that we're not trying to punish. This is not about punishment. This is about reconciliation helping people out of the delusion. Where the enemy has convinced them that they can live in sin and be. Right with God. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day, and each time turns again and ask forgiveness, you must forgive. But I don't think they've really repented, because they've done it seven times today. That's not the point. I don't think that. They're really getting this. I don't think that they're really turning from this. I don't think that they're really. Jesus says, look, if there is 7 hurts in one day. And each time. They come and say please forgive me. I'm so sorry. You must forgive. It's a hard thing to ask. And so the disciples respond and say, increase our faith. We need help with this. This is not going to be easy. This is going to be quite a challenge. We need to be willing to embrace eagerly when it's time to reconcile that we're there, that we don't keep people away for any longer than is necessary to bring about the repentance. That God desires. Boom, of course, is one of those classic examples of forgiveness as she tells the story of meeting one of the guards who is at the prison camp where her and her sister were contained back in World War Two, and and the guard comes up and says I'm a Christian now. I've since then, I've turned to believe in Jesus. And I need to hear from you the forgiveness of God and. She walks through her process of how that was and came to the point where she was eagerly willing to embrace the time to reconcile and forgave. That guard, who had been so cruel to her and her sister. He says in verse 7. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. You see, you play an active role here in protecting this person from over discouragement. Over doing the pain and the punishment that is. Beyond what is necessary. Sometimes it's hard to imagine such a thing as too much sorrow for someone. Who has hurt us? But there is too much sorrow. And it's not our part to make sure that they've suffered enough. It's our part to follow the process that God has established. And then when we see. That confession and repentance. Be eagerly awaiting that opportunity to forgive and to be restored. He says in verse 8. So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him. Reaffirmed this has a proactiveness to it that's reaching out and bracing, pulling in. Hey I want you to know I love you. Yes, I had to correct you. I caused you grief. Paul is modeling this here for us here in Second Corinthians, Chapter 2. I wrote to you. I caused you grief. I know it hurts you, but you've responded and the Lloyds brought about a good work and I want you to know I love you. And I wrote those things to you because. I love you. And I'm glad that we can now have fellowship again. I look forward to our next visit. Which will have great joy. Eagerly embrace the time to reconcile, Pastor David Guzik says they were just as wrong in withholding forgiveness and restoration to the man when he repented as they were to welcome him with open, approving arms when he was in sin. The Corinthian Christians found it easy to air on either extreme. Either being too lenient. Or too harsh? We have to learn from their example. Because we will often find ourselves in the same position, too lenient. Or too harsh? Not ready to embrace those who have repented? Well, the final point verses 9 through 11. Outsmart Satan with forgiveness. Verse 9 says I wrote to you as I did to test you to see if you would fully comply with my instructions. When you forgive this man, I forgive him to you. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ's authority for your benefit. So that Satan will not outsmart us, for we are familiar with his evil schemes. In this final part, Paul is saying, look the enemy. We know his plans and his purposes. He comes to steal, to kill and to destroy. And the situation at Corinth. Was primed for these results. There was going to be a fallout between Paul and the Corinthians. There was going to be division within the Corinthians. There was going to be this guy in sin, there was going to be these false teachers in place just completely wrecked havoc. In this church. But Paul says, look, we can outsmart seat. If we don't address sin. If we don't forgive, when there's repentance, Satan's gonna outsmart us. Unforgiveness bitterness. Division. Leaving things undealt with leaving restoration incomplete. Ending up with a brother lost or sister lost because they're overwhelmed with. Satan outsmarts us in all of those situations. We've allowed him to win. But that's not the goal. Is always restoration. Again, how do we love? Believers who hurt us. We don't love them. By letting Satan win in their life. We don't love them by letting Satan outsmart us. Get us against them wanting you know where we're hoping for. Their failure and destruction. Satan wins if we let him persuade us. To be permanently. From those people. The goal of restoration means we deal with sin, we address it, we confront it. We call to repentance. But we do so following the Lord's instruction, decide to address sin with gentleness. Be gentle. Listen. If you can't be gentle many times when we're hurt, it's really hard for us to be gentle, right? So it might not be the right time to address it, or we might need some help. That's why God is put and pleased within the body of Christ, those spiritual leaders, to help with that situation so that it can be done with gentleness because the issue is not to secure an apology. Or to inflict the same amount of pain that we've received. The issue is, what's the best strategy for helping them? To see the sin that they're engaged in. As gently as possible. And then trust God. His process is good. It's designed to produce repentance. His ways are not our ways, so it doesn't feel like the right thing to do. Many times it's not what we want to do. It's contrary to what we. Would make up on our own. But God knows what he's doing. We can trust him he loves. People more than we do. He knows how to bring about repentance. So trust him, start the process, continue the process. Be patient in the process, even if it takes. Days, weeks, months and even years. But then be ready. Here's our part. God's part is to produce the repentance. Then our part is eagerly embrace like the. Father of the prodigal son. Being there on the porch, waiting. Ohh, you're coming back. You're coming back. Alright, let's embrace. Let's restore. Let's reconcile. When it's that right time. Jump into the forgiveness, the comfort, the reaffirming of your love. And in this, we can outsmart Satan with forgiveness. He wants to take that situation. He means evil from it. He wants to wreck havoc with it. But we can have victory with forgiveness. As we follow the instruction that God has given. To us, here's how to love believers who hurt you. Let's pray, Lord we. Lift up all of these. Situations that are in our minds and on our hearts right now. Lord, there's bound to be sun because being around people, we hurt one another, we fall short and Lord we cause issues and problems. Lord, on our part, we pray that you would forgive us. We pray that you would help us, Lord, to recover quickly as you bring these things to our attention. Lord, help us to see clearly. I pray that you would remove from us the blinders that the enemy has placed there and the delusions that we've bought into where we've decided it's OK to live. In this condition of sin. And Lord, we think we still have right relationship with you. We think we can go on as normal but Lord. Would you show us those areas where we need to turn where we need to correct ourselves and be submitted to you? And God, I pray that. You would help us, then? To be by experience, really good agents helping others do the same. That we would have gentleness and wisdom and love. To help bring people back to write fellowship with you. To have their rightful place restored in the. Body of Christ. Or that we could be together. Walking with you, loving you, serving you. And bringing glory to your name, I pray this in Jesus name.