on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him

Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.

Now is the time to forgive this man and help him back on his feet. If all you do is pour on the guilt, you could very well drown him in it.

2 Corinthians 2:7 (NIV, TMB)

We need to be encouraged to forgive and restore those among us who fall into sin. The one who has fallen needs to repent, yes; but often we don't embrace the repentant one and restore them.

Some notes on this from others:

"Forgive and comfort him: They were just as wrong in withholding forgiveness and restoration to the man when he had repented as they were to welcome him with open, approving arms when he was still in sin. The Corinthian Christians found it easy to err on either extreme, either being too lenient or too harsh... Paul told them to do more than forgive, he also told them to comfort." (David Guzik)

"There may be a judicial forgiveness which is hard, and leaves the soul always conscious of the past. Comfort takes the soul to heart, and forgets. That is how God forgives, and so should we who are His children..... If discipline is largely lacking in the Church of today, so also is the grace of forgiving and comforting those who, having done wrong, are truly repentant. How often, alas! souls have been indeed swallowed up with overmuch sorrow because of the harshness and suspicion of Christian people toward them in view of some wrong which they have done . . . ." (G. Cambell Morgan) (These quotes are taken form David G.'s commentary at the studylight website here.)

The context for us is that today, the church has a reputation of "shooting their wounded" and shunning people who have fallen from grace, making repentance virtually impossible. Not good. This ought not be. Time to learn this.

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