“I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.” — 2 Corinthians 2:8 (NIV84)
A believer of the Corinthian church fell into some kind of unrepentant sin. He refused to respond to the leaders of the Church, so Paul previously told them that the man had to face church discipline. And that is exactly what happened. The unrepentant sinner was cast out of the church in hopes that this severe consequence would awaken his heart and move him to repentance. And that is exactly what happened. Everything went as well as it could go given the situation, except for one thing. The church did not lift their hand of discipline and offer him arms of grace. Hence, in our verse for today, Paul urges them to reaffirm their love for the repentant man.
Two thousand years later, not a whole lot has changed. Christian churches, and Christians themselves, refuse to deal with the willful sin of fellow believers in the right way. We tend to let the person live in their sin, quietly saying to ourselves that they deserve what’s coming. We refuse to have the heart of compassion that Jesus had for us. We tend to want to hold the sins of others against them. We become judge and jury and condemn the lost. When the unrepentant sinner returns in repentance and contrition, we turn a cold shoulder and refuse to accept his or her repentance. We tend to permanently label the fallen as such and refuse to offer them grace and forgiveness.
Notice that Paul tells them to reaffirm their “love” for him. We need to love those who are weak and fallen! Why? Because God loves us even though we are broken and fallen. We need to see ourselves and those around us with the eyes of Jesus. May both our discipline and restoration be rooted in love!