2 Corinthians 2. Forum Discussion

Bad decisions

Today’s daily Bible chapter is 2 Corinthians 2. It is one of the shorter chapters in the Bible with only 17 verses.

As we read through Paul’s second letter, a question comes to mind. What do we do when people we love are making bad decisions (contrary to God’s word) as they were in Corinth? Do we try to correct them, or do we remain silent?

On the one hand, there are many scriptures that talk to us about not judging others:

  • “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.  For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. – Mathew 7:1-5

  • “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.  Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” – Luke 6:37-38

  • “Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.  There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor? ” – James 4:11-12

On the other hand, there is 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

  • “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

It is clear from this scripture that God’s word is to be used to teach, reproof, correct, and train.

Let’s return to our original question, “What do we do when people we love are making bad decisions contrary to God’s word?”

One scripture that may apply is found in the Gospel of Mathew.

“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.  But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.  Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” – Mathew 18:15-18

The King James translation records Mathew 18:15 as follows:

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”

So then, does Mathew 18:15-18 only apply to us when a brother’s sins are directly against us?

Perhaps. It is an interesting question.

Finally, let us look at what Jesus said in the verses immediately following.

In Mathew 18:21, Peter asks Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him:

“I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” – Mathew 18:22

There is a time and a place for Mathew 18:15-18, otherwise it would not be included in the Bible. Those charged with shepherding the flock, for example, may need to reference those verses more often than the rest of us.

In speaking to Peter immediately after His comments, Jesus went straight to forgiveness.

Forgiveness is important to God and it should be important to us. We will end today’s study with a look at the following scriptures that remind us of the importance of forgiveness in our lives. When in doubt, we can never go wrong showing someone compassion and forgiveness.

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” -Colossians 3:13

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” -Mathew 6:14-15

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. ” - Ephesians 4:31-32

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” -1 John 1:9

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” -Ephesians 1:7

“As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
” - Psalm 103:12

“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” - Mark 11:25

Thank you for joining us today. Please join us again tomorrow as we look at 2 Corinthians 3 and the subject of giving glory to God, not ourselves. May God’s blessings be upon you until then. Amen

Comments

Terry Porter

What do we do when people we love are making bad decisions (contrary to God’s word) as they were in Corinth? Do we try to correct them, or do we remain silent?
Yes, I believe we need to help them and it is a responsibility we shouldn't take lightly. But before we try to correct someone, I believe we need to check out own motives first.
Are we trying to "fix" them?
Are we trying to "rule over" them?
Are they a personal "project" for us to work on?
If we answer yes to those questions then we shouldn't go and correct them because our own heart is not right. Instead, if we love them and we are truly for them and want what is best for them, then we can go and talk with them. Nevertheless, we need to do it with the right attitude. Consider Galatians 6:1-3
Galatians 6:1-3 (NLT) - Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

Final thoughts;
In helping someone overcome a sin we should:
- check our own life first
- be motivated by love for that person
- be careful not to fall into the same sin ourselves (so be mutual in our talk with them (e.g. I will help you and you will help me)).

Reply
Drexel Deal

I believe the question for today has been covered wonderfully in the above remarks. Thus, I want to touch on another topic brought out in this chapter which is; forgiveness

As Christians it is important for us to realize, that God will only forgive us to the extend we are willing to forgive someone else. As Jesus said;
“Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.” Matthew 6: 12 GNT.

Two of the biggest misconceptions concerning the act of forgiveness, some feel that they will be condoning or minimizing the action of their offender. Many people still believe that if we forgive the wrongs done to us by others, it is akin to giving them a get out of jail free card when they should be punished. The offender gets to go on with their lives, mean while we are still coping with the hardship resulting from their careless actions. We fail to realize, forgiveness is for our benefit alone. It frees us from overdosing on the toxic emotions of yesterday, that robs us out of today’s joy. As the African proverb goes;
‘Who forgives wins.’

In the John Hopkins Health magazine, published July of 2014. In the article entitled; ‘The Healing Power of Forgiveness, written by Dr. Karen Swartz, a practicing psychiatrist and the clinical programs director of the Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Swartz wrote,
“There has been excellent work that looks at what gets better after forgiveness training. Blood pressure is lower. People report needing fewer medicines. They report having better sleep. They report physically feeling better and having fewer physical complaints.”

I know there are times when we want to strike back, but the dangerous part about vengence it can explode in your face. There’s a story I’m familiar with where a young man was shot to the thigh. Instead of seeking medical treatment, the individual went home to retrieve his gun. He spent the next 30 minutes driving around with his gun in his hand, looking for the person who shot him.
While he never found the person who fired the shot, yet he never made it to the hospital in time because he bled to death. The lesson from this story helps us to appreciate; seeking to carry out our own brand of poetic justice will only make matters worse. While forgiveness doesn’t vindicate the other person’s wrong done to you, at the same time it doesn’t give you a green light to take matters in your own hands. As noted by the Apostle James in verse 20 of chapter 1 in the book bearing his name, James wrote;
“For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” NKJV.

Reply
Kurt L.

I am glad that you shared these passages this morning. When loved ones around us make bad decisions, it could be easy to judge them, but it is not biblical. Christ instructed us to love one another as He loved us (John 13:34). Therefore, we must pray for one another especially loved ones that are making mistakes. Ask God to show them His plan for their lives. Often, the battles that we may face must be won on our knees. The Apostle Paul informed us to pray for all men in 1 Timothy 2:1. Secondly, we must forgive them no matter what they have done. The love of God has been given to us by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Therefore, we have the ability to love people unconditionally (1 John 4:21). In any relationship, there will be conflict eventually. The key to overcoming any conflict will be based on how we handle it. Finally, confronting the individual about what they have done is the last resort in my opinion after prayer and forgiveness has already been established. God bless!!

Reply
Michael
Kurt L.

I appreciate your comments Kurt, especially the one about, "Often, the battles that we may face must be won on our knees."

Amen to that. Sometimes I am hard headed and not receiving God's message. Then He hits me over the head with it. LOL.

And I'm like, "Ohhhhhhhhh" I get it now!

Reply
Darryl S

My friend Dwight and I both made bad decisions when we were growing up. We were like brothers. We were tempted by drugs and alcohol and made bad decisions. I was finally able to find God and reflect on my life and how I wanted to live without drugs and alcohol. I try my best to help my friend Dwight today with love and support. We all need to love and support those that may not be able to help themselves and not judge them when they fail or make bad decisions.

Reply