From David Niednagel, Pastor, Teacher. (David uses S.O.A.P. in his morning quiet time – study, observe, apply, pray)
2 Corinthians 7:8-16 Sorrow – good and bad
7:8 I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. 9 Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. 10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
11 Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right. 12 My purpose, then, was not to write about who did the wrong or who was wronged. I wrote to you so that in the sight of God you could see for yourselves how loyal you are to us. 13 We have been greatly encouraged by this. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was about the way all of you welcomed him and set his mind at ease. 14 I had told him how proud I was of you—and you didn’t disappoint me. I have always told you the truth, and now my boasting to Titus has also proved true! 15 Now he cares for you more than ever when he remembers the way all of you obeyed him and welcomed him with such fear and deep respect. 16 I am very happy now because I have complete confidence in you. NLT
Paul wrote them a strong letter, pointing out their sin and calling for repentance – and they did it! It could have gone either way. If Paul’s words had been softer, or not from a heart of love, or if they had resisted they would have hardened in their sin and the church would have died. It was painful – but worth it.
Paul makes a powerful observation/statement – Godly sorrow leads to repentance and life. Worldly sorrow, where we grieve over the consequences more than over our sin, leads to discouragement, hopelessness, resentment, anger – and death.
But they passed the test! And Paul has confidence they will remember the lessons and make better choices in the future.
Lord, I have seen so many people more upset about getting caught for their sin, than for the sin itself. They blame others instead of grieving over their own self-centeredness and foolishness. Help me face my own sin and repent and not make excuses or blame others. And use me to help others be grieved over their sin more than getting caught. Help me/us learn the sweet benefits of brokenness and repentance and not listen to the schemes of the devil to resist. And Lord, help me know when to use strong letters or words to reach others. I am more likely to use softer words so I don’t upset people, than to describe their actions like You see them. Help me see situations through your eyes, and speak like Paul did. And help me pray every time for You to work now just like You did in Corinth. Amen.