Godly Sorrow [Devotional]

godly sorrow leads to repentance

For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you (2 Corinthians 7:8-12, NKJV).

It can be hard to speak the truth to people you love, especially when the truth makes them unhappy.

The apostle Paul has a reputation for being a bit on the brusque side. Some may even think that he took pleasure in offending people. But this passage of Scripture makes it clear that even he at times, at least temporarily, regretted his hard words.

After his momentary regret, he came around to not regretting making the church in Corinth sorry as a result of the words he wrote to them. He went from being sorry, to rejoicing. Paul’s change in perspective came about because while his words initially made the Corinthians sorry, they ultimately led to their repentance. In fact, they didn’t just repent but were diligent in clearing themselves.

You may not be big on confrontation. Neither am I. But there are times when it’s a necessary action and the best way to show love to other believers.

Speaking and living the truth may make other people unhappy. But if you do it in the right way, being a “catalyst of sorrow” will in the end bring people to repentance, and the ultimate result of such sorrow is great joy.

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Praying the Word

Father, I pray that You’ll give me wisdom in how to properly “bring sorrow” to others. Help me not to delight in hurting people, but to rejoice in their repentance that results from my speaking the truth in love.

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Applying the Word

Do you have anyone to whom you’ve been avoiding speaking the truth? If so, set up a time to get together with them so you can share your heart with them. Admittedly, this is not an easy thing to do, and you should do so prayerfully, and with a spirit of kindness and gentleness. I also recommend making sure that your own heart and conscience is clear before moving forward. You, yourself, may need to repent!

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