Thursday, August 11, 2011

II Cor 2 - recovering from radical surgery

To a church that has at Paul's command in I Corinthians put an unrepentent sinner under discipline, the apostle writes the following to address the complications that might result from such radical sinnerectomy:

"If 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. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7

("Don't be worried about how I feel, I'm fine. I'm more worried about you.")

Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9

("Just like discipline at home - make sure you hug them after they get a spanking. The point of discipline is restoration, not condemnation.")

Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10

("Disciples of Jesus need to learn that holiness requires painful, difficult choices. Sometimes the greatest enemy of the best is the merely good. When persecution comes, your families will be threatened - yet choose God.")

Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

("ALL is forgiven. If you forgive someone, so do I. We are united in our forgiveness. Now let us close ranks and not let the devil do further damage.")

I think there is a role for surgical church discipline, largely honored in the breach in our litigious, independent age. In I Corinthians, he shows us how to wield the scalpel; in II Corinthians, how to treat post-operatively with a minimum of pain, inflammation, infection, and bodily deformity.

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