“You ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him" (2 Corinthians 2:7).
Sorrow can make one look through a dark glass when he or she is swallowed up in anguish. One struggling with somber thoughts is unable to "behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18). This particular passage deals with a backslider, but this wise advice to realize and reassure our love for a troubled one is true for any who need mercy and solace and restoration to the family or community. We all need reaffirmation at times.
Love is encouragement: "Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:24). It is possible to look beyond what people are and have done, and love them for what they can be. Love then becomes redemptive and rejuvenating. It is said that Michelangelo found a piece of rough marble that had been cast aside as useless. He was told that no good thing could come from it, but Michelangelo said, "It is not useless. Send it to my studio. There is an angel imprisoned within it, and I must set it free." We, too, can help release the distressed caught in the hard marble of life through showing them God's forgiveness and love.
Jesus went about freeing angels from within seemingly useless or sinful human beings finally released by His love: Zacchaeus the tax collector, Mary Magdalene, Saul to become Paul, the thief on the cross, the woman of Samaria -- and us! Jesus sees what we can be and He treats us accordingly. And He asks that we do the same for others: treat them as they can be, through His transforming grace and our love for them in Christ’s name.