2 Corinthians 2:5-7 NIVUK
5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent – not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
The other Sunday evening Noel was talking about the challenge of forgiveness and the need for repentance to go with it (there will be a mass posting of sermons in September so you can catch up with what he said then!) Here Paul talks about the need for punishment, but not as a weapon of revenge, but as a tool to bring change and reconciliation. It should be proportionate and followed by forgiveness, comfort and reintegration into relationship. We find punishing those who have wronged us easy. Maybe we even can accept the concept of offering forgiveness. But where we struggle sometimes is to then offer comfort and reintegration.
Father, help us to welcome back the Prodigal Sons and Daughters just as you do.