Wednesday, March 11, 2009

2 Corinthians, chapter 2

The primary focus of Christ's message was one of forgiveness. He made this a focus not only because he came to forgive through His blood on the Cross, but to teach us how to forgive. Think about some of the worst atrocities committed by mankind. Many of them came about because someone sought revenge instead of forgiving. When I took a history of World War II class in college I remember hearing in a lecture a rumor about why Hitler was anti-Semitic. It was alleged that a Jewish doctor didn't have the proper treatment for his mother, who died of breast cancer, so his anti-Semitism rose from that moment of not forgiving an alleged mistake.

In this world we have to forgive. This is a lesson I cannot stress enough because it is one that I need to work on myself. Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts we can give a person, but it is also one of the hardest to give. We want to hold on to our anger. It is a natural human emotion. When we are hurt we want to hurt back instead of forgive. It is something that is very hard for us to control.

5If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. 7Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 2 Corinthians 2:5-8

I think one of the struggles with forgiveness comes from our thinking it needs to be deserved. If there is genuine contrition from the person that has wrong us, then it becomes easier for us to forgive. Still, Christ teaches that we must forgive unconditionally. Sometimes this can mean forgiving when the other person doesn't particularly want or care to have that forgiveness. The reason we forgive in those cases is because harboring that anger causes nothing but pain. We forgive so that we may move on ourselves instead of being held back by that anger.

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