Wednesday, April 1

Satan’s schemes

Scripture: Judges 13-16, 2 Corinthians 2

2 Corinthians 2:10–11 When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, 11 so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.

Observation

Evidently, a man in the Corinthian church had opposed Paul in a sinful way and led others astray as well.  The church disciplined him and he repented.  Now Paul urged them to forgive this man, comfort him, and reaffirm their love for him.  They were to do this for two reasons.

First, for the man’s benefit, so that he wouldn’t be overcome by discouragement.  (v. 7)  

Second, for the church’s benefit, so that they wouldn’t be outsmarted by Satan.  Paul links a lack of forgiveness toward someone with being outsmarted by Satan and trapped in his evil schemes.  The devil loves to keep hurt and bitterness alive; he loves to keep us divided and at odds with each other.  He hates forgiveness, so he will encourage unforgiveness and bitterness!  

Application

The devil’s scheme is to keep you bound in bitterness. He doesn’t want you to forgive.  He knows that if you refuse to forgive, you hurt yourself and others.  

We need to forgive not only for the benefit of the offender, but for our own benefit.  When I refuse to forgive, the person I’m primarily punishing is me!  I’m hurting myself. 

I’m also hurting others by keeping friction alive, and dividing the church that is supposed to be united in Christ and His grace.  

Please understand: any time you refuse to forgive, you play into the devil’s destructive schemes.  

Forgive…just as Jesus has fully forgiven you. 

Who do you need to forgive today?

Prayer: Lord, help us not to be ignorant of the devil’s scheme to keep us trapped in bitterness.  Give us grace to forgive even as we’ve been forgiven.