My wife and I returned from a cruise on Friday, and Saturday I barely opened my computer and Sunday’s are just full…including the fact that we traveled again Sunday – for medical reason. I say that because I’m going to be posting past devotionals every hour until I get caught up. Please forgive me if this slams your inbox.
“Godly sorrow brings repentence that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV)
Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians dealt with a serious moral issue and Paul called them on the carpet about it. The Corinthians could have responded in one of two possible ways. They could have responded in anger and been sorry they ever listened to Paul in the first place, or they could have realized they were doing wrong, been sorry, and taken steps to correct it. They chose the second option – the good one. They became so zealous to do what was right that Paul now had to teach them the process of restoring someone who was caught in their sin and repented. He reminded them that their godly sorrow ultimately brought a desire to see justice done.
A while back, someone mentioned some mistakes I had made in my work at church. They were right, to a degree, but rather than taking the criticism as it was meant, which was a way to help me do my work better, I got my hackles up and reacted defensively. That worldly sorrow response put a strain on our relationship.It took me a while to respond in godly sorrow and accept the criticism, which was just, as a caring comment to help me do my job better. While this wasn’t a moral issue, it highlights the problems we have as Christians when seeking to help people understand God’s love. These days, when we speak to people on moral issues, those on the other side of the issue from us assume that our comments come from hate. Society at large seems to accept the “anything goes” lifestyles of those opposed to the gospel and brand us with the same label of hate. They are, in Paul’s words, headed for death. There are times, though, when God’s ways and purposes become clear and our teachings lead to godly sorrow and people repent and turn to God. Their godly sorrow leads them to salvation, and they don’t regret leaving their past lives behind because the joy of living for the Lord is so amazing.
Lord, first of all, make me receptive to godly criticism so that I can respond as You would have me do so when someone corrects me. Second, let me seep my concerns for others in Your love so much that anything I say might result in godly sorrow and repentence, and not worldly sorrow shown in defensiveness.