Day 25

A Sinner Forgiven

from the 1 & 2 Corinthians reading plan


2 Corinthians 2:5-17, Matthew 6:14-15, Colossians 3:12-17

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 2:5-17, Matthew 6:14-15, Colossians 3:12-17

For weeks, I have grappled with these passages in 2 Corinthians. Forgiveness is such a complicated, messy, and integral part of the Christian faith. And if I’m honest, I don’t know if I understand how it works, or whether I’m practicing it well in my life.

When I really let myself think about forgiveness, it touches raw nerves. It calls up painful memories of the times I’ve been hurt, and the times I’ve done the hurting. And that doesn’t feel good. In fact, I’d rather just forget about those parts of my life and move on.

But contrary to popular belief, Jesus does not call us to “forgive and forget.” Christian forgiveness does not require rose-colored glasses or some “spiritual” version of denial. What it does require is faith that if Jesus has carried the weight of our sin, He can also carry the weight of our wounds.

God doesn’t minimize our offenses. He doesn’t wave them away with a magic wand of denial. Nor does He offer empty cop-outs. Instead, He enacted an eternal, and costly, plan to set things right.

The God-man of great sorrow, Jesus, was well acquainted with the evil of this world (Isaiah 53:3), and He refused to ignore it. Instead, He chose to bear the debt on His own back. Knowing that God could not be in the presence of unholy people, Jesus put on our unholiness and gave us His perfect record in return. The sin was heavy, and Jesus carried it, though He didn’t resent us while carrying the cross. He didn’t wait for us to ask Him to do it, either. He forgave us before we even knew we needed forgiveness—because He loved us first.

As impossible as it sometimes feels, we are called to emulate Christ. “For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15). Still, forgiveness is not easy. It does not eliminate pain. Forgiveness is an active, voluntary choice to carry the weight of someone else’s sin. It does not guarantee that we will be reconciled to that person, nor that the relationship will ever be the same. Forgiveness says, “You no longer have to make up for what you did to me. I will carry the cost.”

But I’m not Jesus. So even my ability to forgive is imperfect. One of Jesus’ disciples once asked whether it was fair to forgive someone seven times, and Jesus replied,

“I tell you, not as many as seven… but seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22).

I don’t believe that is a call to be abused over and over again by the same person. In my life, that has meant actively forgiving someone for the same crime, even as I find myself feeling resentful again. When the bitterness returns, I can choose to let that old wound fester, or I can put on the salve of forgiveness. There may still be a scar, but I am no longer keeping the wound open in order to prove how much I’ve been hurt.

When forgiveness is hard, faith reminds me to focus less on what someone did to me, and more on what Jesus did for me. It is in that posture of humility that I can bring my wounds and my sins back to the feet of Jesus. It is there that He reminds me that even when my suffering feels heavy, He is the one who ultimately carries it all.

SRT-Corinthians-Shareimage-Day25

Claire Gibson is a writer whose work has been featured in publications including The Washington Post and Entrepreneur Magazine among many others. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Patrick, their son, Sam, and their dog, Winnie. Her debut novel, Beyond the Point, will be published next year.

Post Comments (73)

73 thoughts on "A Sinner Forgiven"

  1. Devon says:

    This was exactly what I needed today.

  2. Renae Pearson says:

    Thank you for this! I’m glad to know you really wrestled through this passage before writing the devo!

    Bearing the weight of other’s sins, even if they don’t realize they’ve sinned! Whew! That takes work!

  3. Brianna Foshie says:

    Forgiveness is something ive struggled with my whole life. My dad chose to let evil in his heart and broke our family when I was 5. Growing up I’ve went back and forth with forgiving him and being angry. I’ve come to terms and have stopped being angry and have just forgiven and the last couple of years have been the best because of that even though my dad is still not around. Now I’m struggling with finding the balance of forgiving my mother in law for things she has done but also protecting myself and my son from the things she does.

    1. Ashley Bell says:

      I understand I have a similar family dynamic. I will pray for you. My dad has been a thorn in my life. I love him but he also has abused me emotionally. He is in bondage and cannot see it because he is always the victim. I have to have him in my life but in that I have to learn to surrender my fears, judgements and defensive qualities. Also balancing forgiveness with setting restrictions for myself and kids. He needs counciling but I jest realized I need to let that go and I cannot fix him. Jesus can fix him not me. Only Jesus can set things right not me. I pray you experience healing and peace. Keep God’s truth in the forefront of your mind.

  4. Anna Wright says:

    Thank you for this… there are a few things in the las couple months that have happened that have left me hurt and though I thought I was forgiving and moving on, I know that any time someone asked how I was doing I was ready to download all the things that have hurt me lately. I realise I was keeping the wound open because I wanted to prove how hurt I was. Instead of letting the healing happen I was picking at the wound. Time for the salve of forgiveness to be put on and left on

  5. Deb Williams says:

    I just finished a study about “Hidden Unforgiveness “ written by Sherrie McCorkle. It was an amazing study as each of us attending realized there were many thing tucked within our hearts that we really needed to release and forgive as the Bible tells us we must do.
    Sherrie spent many years at the feet of Jesus as she wrote this book.
    I am so grateful for being able to address and release these issues so as not to hinder my walk with Jesus. Liberating!

    1. Kathleen Latham says:

      Deb Williams, where did you get the study? I can’t find it except to pre-order the book.

  6. Laura says:

    When my husband first confessed his affair to me, forgiveness was not my first thought. It was anger. And hurt. Lots of hurt, actually. Over time, I have been able to forgive. But it has taken time. And there are moments when I have to forgive again. There were people in my life who pushed me to forgive quickly. He wanted me to forgive quickly. But I just couldn’t. It took time. It took growth on my part. It took me leaning into Christ and finding comfort from Him. At first I felt guilty…why can’t I just forgive? But through the process I have realized that I needed that time. My husband needed that time. I didn’t drag him through the streets. We worked on things privately, with wise counsel. I didn’t want him to suffer and pay for what he did, but I wanted to feel my hurt, because by feeling it, I could talk to God about it and He could heal me, He could heal us. I believe that time was necessary. Forgiveness takes time. It’s not forgetting. It’s not going to remove the scar. But it does allow you and the other person to begin again, to move forward, to love in spite of the hurt. The 70 times 7 response of Christ…I have held onto that. To me it says, it takes time. Keep trying to forgive. Keep working towards it. Don’t beat yourself up because you can’t immediately forgive. But keep leaning into Christ, ask Him to help you, and move forward.

    1. Lizzieb85 says:

      Beautiful testimony. Thank you for sharing.

    2. Lori Wat says:

      Amen sister. ❤️

  7. Julie says:

    Dear SRT sisters may I ask for prayers. I am going through a challenging time. My fears anxieties and worries have taken over. I feel under attack and dearly need support. I am in therapy and attend support groups but still feel overtaken by my circumstances. I ask for forgiveness for my doubts and confess that my faith has been weakened by this. I have lost confidence and pray to know God’s will for me. I want to give this burden to him knowing he cares for me more than I know. That God truly loves me. But the struggle to feel that in my heart has been difficult. Every part of my life is in need of restoration. I pray for spiritual, mental and physical healing to be whole again. I pray to be surrounded by support and to feel His everlasting loving arms around me. To know He is sheltering me and has me covered with His armor and protection. Psalm 91:4. I have great needs such as to find safe products to use due to chemical allergies( and the confidence to try them-this has been so difficult for me but I need to begin this process such fear here), a job that can sustain me (my spousal support is ending and I had tried to prepare for this but had life circumstances hit hard), a new place to live that will be comfortable and a place to truly call home that I can also furnish ( I do not have living room or dining room furniture). I also have medical bills coming in that I will need to pay and this has been overwhelming me. I feel so under pressure from all of this. I pray that God will see me through this and I will come out the other side healed and whole again. I am having a hard time believing in this and would truly appreciate your prayers. Thank you so very much.

    1. Kat T says:

      Julie- your awareness and willingness to seek support in this storm, from sisters in Christ and from the Lord are inspiring! I pray that you find the peace that only He can give (John 14:27)

      1. Kathleen Latham says:

        Hi Julie, I’m praying for you!
        In answer to products you’re looking for because of chemical allergies, have you ever heard of a company called Melaleuca? It’s an online company and they have representatives that they usually want you to buy through so if you know someone who is signed up with them, ask them about the products. I know so many people who have been able to use these organic, non-chemical products when nothing else worked for them, including myself.
        I’m praying about your other situations as well!

    2. Anne says:

      Praying for you! That you would tangibly feel God’s comfort and love pouring out to you. He is with you in this, He will not abandon you during this time of suffering. Cling to Him.

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