April 4: Forgive, Forget, and Comfort
Deuteronomy 5:1–6:25; 2 Corinthians 2:1–11; Psalm 33
There is a subtle type of grudge that festers. When we extend forgiveness, the challenge isn’t necessarily in the moment of reconciliation. It’s extending that moment and letting it permeate the interactions that follow.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul doesn’t just ask the Corinthians to forgive. He asks them for much more: “So then, you should rather forgive and comfort him lest somehow this person should be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Therefore I urge you to confirm your love for him. Because for this reason, also I wrote, in order that I could know your proven character, whether you are obedient in everything” (2 Cor 2:7–9).
Patronizing superiority suits our selfish desires, but grudging forgiveness doesn’t heal a community. Paul calls the Corinthian church to much more. He wants them to live sacrificially. That’s why, when Paul calls for the offender in Corinth to be reprimanded, he specifically turns to address those who were affected by the sin. The solution was intentional, ongoing forgiveness and an outpouring of love. He then reminded the Corinthians of Christ’s sacrifice, which they didn’t deserve (see Col 3:13). Forgiveness is undeserved—a reminder we all need.
Are you holding on to a grudge against someone—perhaps even someone you’ve already forgiven? How can you let go of your grudge and extend the love that has been shown to you?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- Then Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the ordinances and the laws which I propose to you this day, that ye may learn them, and take heed to observe them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers only, but with us, even with us all here alive this day. The Lord talked with you face to face in the Mount, out of the midst of the fire. (At that time I stood between the Lord and you, to declare unto you the word of the Lord: for ye were afraid at the sight of the fire, and went not up into the mount) and he said, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt have non other gods before my face. Thou shalt make thee no graven image or any likeness of that that is in heaven above, or which is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt neither bow thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, even unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his Name in vain. Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lrod thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labor, and shalt do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: thou shalt not do any work therein, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maid, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, neither any of thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates: that thy manservant and thy maid may rest as well as thou. For, remember that thou wast a servant int he land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence by a mighty hand,a n da stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to observe the Sabbath day. Honor thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee, that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee upon the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. Neither shalt thou commit adultery. Neither shalt thou steal. Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbor. Neither shalt thou covet thy neighbor’s wife, neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor’s house, his field, nor his manservant, nor his maid, his ox, nor his ass, nor ought that thy neighbor hath. These words the Lord spake unto all your multitude in the mount of the midst of the fire, the cloud and the darkness, with a great voice, and added no more thereto: and wrote them upon two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me. And when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the fire, the cloud and the darkness, with a great voice, and added no more thereto: and wrote them upon two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me. And when ye heard the voice out of the mist of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire) then ye came to me, all the chief of your tribes, and your Elders: And ye said, Behold, the Lord our God hath showed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of hte midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. Now therefore, why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the Lord our God anymore, we shall die. For what flesh was there ever that heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire as we have, and lived? Go thou near nd hear all that the Lord our God saith: and declare thou unto us all that the Lord our God saith unto thee: and we will hear it, and do it. Then the Lord heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me: and the Lord said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of his people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said, all that they have spoken. Oh that there were such an heart in them to fear me, and to keep all m commandments always: that it might go well with them, and with their children forever. Go, say unto them, Return you into your tents. But stand thou here with me, and I will tell thee all the commandments,a nd the ordinances, and the laws, which thoushalt teachthem: that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it. Take heed therefore, that ye do as the Lord your God hath commanded you: turn not aside to the right hand nor to the left. But walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may go well with you: and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess. Deuteronomy 5:1–6:25
- But I determined thus in myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. For if I make you sorry, who is he then that should make me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? And I wrote this same thing unto you, lest when I came, I should take heaviness of them of whom I ought to rejoice: this confidence have I in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. For in great affliction, and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears: not that ye should be made sorry, but that ye might perceive the love which I have, specially to you. And if any hath caused sorrow, the same hath not made me sorry, but partly (lest I should more charge him) you all. It is sufficient unto the same man, that he was rebuked of many. So that now contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest the same should be swallowed up with overmuch heaviness. Wherefore, I pray you, that you would confirm your love towards him. For this cause also did I write: that I might know the proof of you, whether ye would be obedient in all things. To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also: for verily if I forgive anything, to whom I forgive it, for your sakes forgave I it in the sight of Christ. Lest Satan should circumvent us: for we are not ignorant of his enterprises. 2 Corinthians 2:1–11
- Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for it becometh upright men to be thankful. Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with viol and instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song: sing cheerfully with a loud voice. For the word of the Lord is righteous, and all his works are faithful. He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as upon an heap, and layeth up the depths in his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as upon an heap, and layeth up the depths in his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as upon an heap, and layeth up the depths in his treasures. Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all them that dwell in the world, fear him. For he spake, and it was done: he commanded, and it stood. The Lord breaketh the counsel of the heathen, and bringeth to nought the devices of the people. The counsel of the Lord shall stand forever, and the thoughts of his heart throughout all ages. Blessed is that nation, whose God is the Lord: even the people that he hath chosen for his inheritance. The Lord looketh down from heaven, and beholdeth all the children of men. From the habitation of his dwelling, he beholdeth all them that dwell in the earth. He fashioneth their hearts every one, and understandeth all their works. The King is not saved by the multitude of an host, neither is the mighty man delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain help, and shall not deliver any by his great strength. Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, and upon them that trust in his mercy, To deliver their souls from death, and to preserve them in famine. Our sou waiteth for the Lord: for he is our help and our shield. Surely our heart shall rejoice in him, because we trusted in his holy Name. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we trusted in thee. Psalm 33