IN causes grief. Our sinful flesh lusts for a constant satiation of our evil appetites, but satisfying our depraved desires is an impossibility. Maybe we should compare the gratification of our flesh to drinking saltwater to quench our thirst. The result is self-destructive and counterproductive. Sin can give momentary pleasure, but the pain and grief that comes later far outweighs the fleeting excitement of the initial illicit action. Paul had rebuked the Corinthians strongly in his first letter to them. He had rebuked them because of their sin. With deep sadness and strong sorrow, he had judged some specific evils in their midst (1st Corinthians 5:1-5). And, his righteous harshness had pushed them into an appropriate sadness. In humility, they had reacted in the right direction. They had punished sin in their midst. However, they hadn't completed the mission. There was no care or cleanup after the dirty work of discipline had been done. In this chapter, Paul tries to bring the Corinthians back to a middle-of-the-road position concerning the same issue.
The guilty party (or parties) had been punished. That was good. But the guilty one had repented. Yet, the church wasn't handling that part so well. The sin had brought much grief (which was appropriate), but repentance after the fact had not been given the same berth that judgment had merited prior to the fact. As a result, the penitent sinner was being consumed by his own sorrow. Sorrow is good and has its place, especially in relation to real guilt. However, there is also a time for good people to say that enough is enough (vs. 6). Just as a place had been made for condemnation, righteousness, and rebuke, there should have also been a proper place for forgiveness, comfort and love.