After opening up the letter speaking of a God who gives comfort and sharing some experiences where he greatly needed that comfort, Paul gives an exhortation to the people of the church to take opportunity to extend God’s comfort to another sinner through the act of forgiveness, and reaffirm their love for him.  I struggle greatly with forgiveness… how could someone who wronged me and caused me pain deserve to have me love him in return (whether he pays the consequences or not!)?  Why would I comfort someone who wronged me when I am desiring comfort? But I am greatly humbled when I remember the infinite debt I owed against my Creator, and how he extended forgiveness and comfort to me, reaffirming his love toward me.  I see a picture of God as my Daddy when I relate to my toddler son.  I am so puzzled how we can be having a great time, enjoying our relationship together, when he suddenly is upset for not getting something he wants and there is a break in our relationship.  But I want to show him how much I love him no matter what.  I have realized how much the pursuit of my selfish desires harms my relationship with my Daddy – but he always extends forgiveness no matter how great the debt.  I cannot fathom love so great that endures the depths of my selfishness!
We are then reminded that forgiveness is crucial “so that we would not be outwitted by Satan” (verse 11) because Satan uses bitter unforgiveness as a foothold for many Christians who hold fast to the wrongs against them rather than the love of Christ.  But when we step forward and extend comfort and love through forgiveness, Christ leads us in a celebration of victory, spreading the gospel of a relationship with our Creator God through us, because “we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (verses 14-15).
We ought to give thanks for such a privilege to be used for the spread of the gospel, even at the price of loving those who wrong us – those who, like us, are sinners in need of saving truth.

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