READ : 2 Corinthians 13:14
Grace . . . love . . . and communion . . . be with all of you. (v. 14)
Can you imagine a country where every third person was a paid informant for the government? Where spies reported on anything you said or did, often with severe personal repercussions? Many families endured imprisonment, torture, and punishment because of people they thought they knew and trusted, but who actually were spies. The church and Christian community were not immune to spies either! Espionage is prevalent in many of the former Iron Curtain nations in Central and Eastern Europe.
How does one get beyond the feelings of revenge and anger? How can one forgive or seek forgiveness? In our own lives, how do we get past the hurts and pains of careless words and actions?
Paul’s letter to the Corinthians shows Jesus Christ’s way of doing so. Paul was severely criticized by the Corinthians, receiving more abuse and mistreatment from them than from any other church. Yet as a gracious father, he ends his letter by blessing them. With a masterful mixture of rebuke and affirmation, Paul first admonishes them and then blesses them. This balancing of love and holiness is a pathway to wholeness in Christ Jesus. This is God’s model of grace and peace to bring hope to each one of us.
Lord, help me to show your love by forgiving and not condemning.