There is a person in the Corinthian church that is openly involved in immoral (if not illegal) behavior. Paul directs the church to take action to expel the individual from the church. Though there are multiple interpretations on the directive to “hand him over to Satan”, the goal of the action is to discipline and correct his behavior. Evidently, the church took Paul’s advice and expelled him. However, the punishment did not end—even after the man expressed his sorrow. Paul’s second letter advises them to “forgive him, console him and reaffirm their love for him.”
In a situation where there has been an infraction that has brought damage to the community, what do you think are some of “Satan’s designs” for the law breaker? For the community? How does forgiveness and restoration to the community thwart those designs?
While this is a situation that happens inside the church, are there applications to those who have been convicted of crimes and have been incarcerated? How can we express consolation and forgiveness to those who have “done their time”?