2 Corinthians 2:7 “Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.”
How do we respond to weak believers? Do we throw them under the bus or extend an olive branch?
“All we are saying… is give peace a chance…” The song from the musical Hair has been running through my mind lately. Not because I’m feeling nostalgic for the 60’s. I’m thinking about it in a slightly different context: people who dismiss God because they think they know about (or think they’ve tried) Christianity and found it wanting. They’ve been there, done that, or so they believe. As a result, they close themselves to any possibility their experience could be faulty…. To them, I am saying…Give God a chance.
I have some young friends who fit that category. “Although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21). They didn’t thank God because they didn’t recognize what he was doing in their lives. So their picture of him became incomplete and distorted. They gravitated to sin and self-indulgence to replace the God they rejected. The process of knowing—really knowing—God became tragically interrupted.
So how do we respond? How can we shine light into darkened hearts? Christianity is about more than crime and punishment, sin and consequences. It goes further. It holds hope for repentance and with repentance comes forgiveness. Paul encouraged the church to be gentle with fellow believers caught in sin. He exhorted them to confront the sin (that’s the mark of true love), but after the brother or sister repents, the church ought to offer comfort, forgiveness and reaffirmation. To the church, Paul was saying…Give grace a chance.
I believe when we let ourselves be permeated with the grace of God we can pierce the darkness of an injured heart. There is no conceivable situation the grace of God can’t cover. If you, like me, are grieving over loved ones who are drifting from the truth, take heart. Let God’s love and grace fill you with renewed hope as you pray they would hear what we are saying…and…Give God a chance.