According to a New York Times story, 97% of Federal Drug offenders plead guilty to avoid going to trial. The main reason seems to be that if you go to trial, penalties are far greater if you lose. Pleading guilty reduces your sentence. So even innocent folk often plead guilty to avoid long sentences. In his second letter to the Corinthian church in Chapter 2, the Apostle Paul urged them to forgive a brother who had sinned but now had repented. He urged forgiveness for two reasons: One, he focused on the person who had sinned. He wanted the church to forgive the person to preserve his dignity. Now that the person had pleaded guilty and been punished for wrongdoing, the church needed to forgive, accept, and restore the person to the Christian community. The other reason Paul urged forgiveness was to preserve the integrity of the church. By meting out an appropriate punishment, the church showed it did not overlook wrongdoing. But by forgiving, accepting, and restoring the repentant person, the church showed love as Jesus commanded; and by showing love, the church was a positive witness to outsiders.

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