8/5 2 Corinthians 2:11

11 . . . so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

Paul encouraged the church to forgive and welcome back the brother who had been expelled from fellowship. That brother had seen how sinful his actions were and was being overwhelmed with sorrow. Now it was time to welcome him back into fellowship and let him know he was still loved. Forgiveness and reconciliation counter Satan's schemes.

Whenever you see unforgiveness and division, you are seeing the enemy's design outwitting us. Jesus prayed for us to be one (John 17:11). The enemy wants us to be divided. Jesus told us to love one another (John 15:12). The enemy wants us to harbor unforgiveness and hatred. That is his design. When our reasoning gets in the way of doing what Jesus has asked us to do, Satan is outwitting us.

There are times when church discipline will not end in reconciliation, but that should never be because of unforgiveness towards the brother who sinned. It should only occur when there is a lack of repentance on his part. Since we are aware of the tools of Satan, we should lean toward grace and look for every opportunity to forgive and restore. However, we should at the same time keep the unity of the overall flock in mind. If the person sows false doctrine or practices blatant sinful behavior, the elders have no choice but to separate him or her from fellowship, for they are not ignorant of Satan's designs.

Consider: Sometimes your elders will have to make decisions for the sake of the flock and not be able to openly explain why they have exercised discipline. It may be to avoid a lawsuit or because some things were said in confidence. Pray for them to act in wisdom and to see through the enemy's designs.