“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. 12 So even though I wrote to you, it was neither on account of the one who did the wrong nor on account of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. 13 By all this we are encouraged. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you.” 2 Corinthians 7.10-13
As I wrote about on the previous entry, “Godly sorrow brings repentance,” I emphasized the encouragement that comes after correction. As humans, no one likes to be corrected. For our fragile egos and self-image is deeply connected to human approval. In this passage, Paul has been doing some correcting and rebuking with the Corinthians church and their repentance has led to refreshment in the Lord.
Paul states that godly sorrow brings repentance, but worldly sorry leads to the death. What does this mean? If being rebuked for sinning as a believer results in us turning back to God, the result is good. But those who do not known God, who are rebuked and grieve, they have no one in which to turn from sin. They are not connected to the Body or filled with the Holy Spirit. (Not that they can’t come to know Jesus, this is the hope and goal for all people.)
Paul has rebuked the church and they apparently have been wounded by his words. But as Paul states, this “godly sorrow” hasn’t resulted in permanent sadness or discouragement. No, rather, it has “produced” earnestness, eagerness, indignation, alarm, longing, concern and readiness for the right thing to be done. Paul’s rebuke of the church has caused correction to occur. Now what correction is this? We could refer to 1 Corinthians. One commentary writes, “Paul enumerates various immoral tendencies of the Corinthian Christians. He cautions them to condemn sexual immorality within the church. Membership in the community of the faithful, he teaches, means that the church faithful must adjudicate moral matters amongst themselves, chastising and expelling sinners.” (https://www.sparknotes.com › lit › newtestament › section7)
The bottom line is that the godly correction resulted in “encouragement,” “devotion” and “delight.” And the appearance of Titus good things resulted because “his spirit has been refreshed by all of you.
None of us like to be corrected. Even as a child in school, when I “rebuked” by teachers, whether I was wrong or not, I did not enjoy it. Even today, I don’t take criticism well. Now you may be a bigger person than me, but the truth is, correction hurts. But rest assured, correction from a friend, from a godly friend, a Jesus lover, may initially lead to sorrow or sadness but ultimately it will lead to your encouragement and refreshment. As Proverbs 27.6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
“O Lord God, help us and heal us. Allow us to be like the church in Corinth who received rebuke but were refreshed by it. Allow us to be teachable, molded by your love, shaped by your grace. Help us so be in tune with your Holy Spirit that we can find truth in your words. Our goal, is to please you. It is our goal to glorify your name and to be like Jesus. Help me do so in every aspect of my life. I love you Lord and praise you. Thank you for the power of forgiveness and for your purpose to never let me go. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen