Third Sunday after the Epiphany
Psalm 119:89-96 (The law of God gives life); Jeremiah 36:11-26 (Jehoiakim burns the scroll); 2 Corinthians 7:2-12 (Grief leads to repentance)
We live in a time when it seems like the worst thing you can do is disagree with someone and act on that disagreement. Disagreements like that tend to cause hurt feelings – and we can’t have any of those lying around. If someone’s feelings are hurt, who knows what they’ll do? It will be all your fault because you hurt their feelings and damaged their self-esteem.
Paul wrote a scathing letter to the Corinthian church because they were not only allowing an obvious sin, they were celebrating it. He was afraid that he might even drive them away from the faith. And so it was with joy when Paul found out that the Corinthian Church not only accepted the rebuke, they had repented of their sin. “yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10) Paul pointed out the results of godly sorrow as opposed to worldly sorrow, and it’s an important distinction. Godly sorrow is when you realize that you have sinned against God and it causes you to repent of the sin that brought the problems about. Worldly sorrow is a kind of anger that you got caught. We see it in the person forced to apologize who bites off his words and says, “I’m sorry,” and then tells the person who forced them that they apologized – can they go now. In a world that shies away from true sorrow, we have the responsibility to experience that sorrow when we sin and use that sorrow to turn back to God.
Lord God, I know that I have sinned against You, and that my sin has hurt other people in the process. I am ashamed and sorry for my failure. Please forgive me because of Your grace, not because of anything I have done to earn it. Restore to me the joy of my salvation.