But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere.  For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.  Who is sufficient for these things? (II Corinthians 2:14-16)

This passage comes in the context of Paul speaking to the Corinthians about their responsibility to forgive a brother who had sinned.  So you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.  So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. (vs. 7-8)  This is how we should respond to one who sins agains us — forgive and comfort the one who sinned against us, and reaffirm our love for him or her.  This can be extremely difficult.  But it is our responsibility.

Why should we do such a thing as forgive, comfort and reaffirm our love for one who has offended us?  Because through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ.  Through our expressions of forgiveness, comfort and love, we have the opportunity to show to others, believers and unbelievers, the forgiveness, comfort and love of Jesus.  Such acts to one who has offended us are counter cultural.  This is not the way people of the world respond to one who has offended or hurt them.  The typical response is bitterness, anger and revenge.  Such a response is an act of justice against the one who offended.

But believers do not live under the justice of God, but rather we live under the grace of God.  If we live under His justice we would get what we deserve — God’s punishment, rejection and wrath for our sins.  Thank God for Jesus who made it possible to live in God’s grace through which we are forgiven, comforted and loved.

Before we can and will grant forgiveness, comfort and love to one who offends us, we must first come to grips with the fruit of the grace of God in our own lives.  How many times have we sinned against God?  Yet He forgives over and over again.  He restores us to fellowship with Him and comforts us.  Each time He forgives us, He reaffirms His love for us.  Therefore, we have no excuse in not granting these things to another sinful human being who offends us.

I realize how difficult this may be.  Some have been deeply disappointed and hurt by others.  It is not only difficult for people like these but it is also difficult for those facing minor offenses  as well.  Forgiveness does not come naturally.  It is the supernatural work of God in our hearts.

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