Proverbs 19-21 2 Corinthians 7
“The kind of sorrow God wants makes people change their hearts and lives. This leads to salvation, and you cannot be sorry for that. But the kind of sorrow the world has brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10 NCV)
If hashtags were around in Paul’s day, this section of the letter would be his #sorrynotsorry moment. He’d written some harsh words to the Corinthian Church, and while he had a few pangs of regret over how they would react, he knew he’d said the right thing. The Corinthians, for all their faults, responded to Paul’s rebuke the right way. The repented of their sins. They were sorrowful and changed their ways. When Paul got the news that his letter had the desired effect, he rejoiced and made the distinction between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. Godly sorrow happens when someone admits that they did something wrong and, with God’s help, commits to do the right thing. (That’s repentance, by the way.) Worldly sorrow happens when people are sorry for getting caught, and they work to avoid getting caught in the future. Worldly sorrow puts the blame on the offended when the apology is “I’m sorry if anyone was offended by this.”
When I offend someone, I take stock. Did I do something wrong, or did I call someone’s attention to their own sin? When I’m wrong, I try to admit it in a way that makes the offended person realize that I’m actually apologizing for doing wrong, and not trying to shift the blame in an underhanded way. That’s easy to do. “I’m sorry if you were offended.” Because most people wouldn’t have been. “I’m sorry I reacted that way when you did your thing.” Because you did what you did, I had no choice. On the other hand, it’s possible that sometimes what I write here offends people. I try to stay true to biblical truth and point out what we should be doing instead of attacking specific sins, but sometimes, if people read between the lines and understand my thoughts, they might be offended. If I offend you with my devotional writing, you have a couple of good options: the first is to let me know how I was wrong in my understanding of God’s word and plan; the second is to seek God and see if you need to change your life. A third option is to write me off and never read these again. Doing that, of course, would help no one. If my writing offends you enough that you search for God’s truth, I can truly say that I’m #sorrynotsorry. If I’m wrong based on a true biblical understanding, I’ll change my views. On the other hand, if you discover that you need to get things right with God, I’ll rejoice that God spoke to you as you read. The point of these writings is to share what God taught me as I read His word. He corrects my thoughts and attitudes daily. If these words help you repent, I’ll be grateful that God’s causing you to grow.
Lord, thank You that You correct me when I’m wrong. Thank You for using my friends to draw me back to You. Let me be so close to You that if I offend others, it’s not because I’m wrong, but because You’re using me to draw others back to You.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.