Many of us know the words of the Brief Order of Confession by heart. We have said them many times in worship throughout our lives.
Most merciful God,
we confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name.
We often consider how we are in need of God's forgiveness, but in 2 Corinthians 2, Paul writes about forgiveness between humans and within the church community.
So I made up my mind not to make you another painful visit. For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? And I wrote as I did, so that when I came, I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice; for I am confident about all of you, that my joy would be the joy of all of you. For I wrote to you out of much distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain, but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.
But if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but to some extent—not to exaggerate it—to all of you. This punishment by the majority is enough for such a person; so now instead you should forgive and console him, so that he may not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. I wrote for this reason: to test you and to know whether you are obedient in everything. Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ.
In your time of devotion and reflection today, I invite you to consider the times you have needed to be forgiven and the times you have offered forgiveness. Consider the relationships in your life - where you do need to ask for forgiveness? offer forgiveness? How can you truly repair a relationship? What steps are needed to be able to move forward after forgiving?
Take some time in prayer, asking God to reveal these things to you and showing you how to move forward.