scripture reflection

Submitted by Gene McCumber, Director of Intercession, TTWM


Godly Sorrow after Correction

Normally, I'd write out the scripture that struck me.  However, the whole chapter of II Corinthians 7 really needs to be read as a whole.  I invite you to read it in its entirety.  Here's a link:

II Corinthians 7

I'm not one who relishes correction.  I don't know many who do.  But look at Paul's reaction to the church in Corinth.  Reading Paul's first letter to them is really rough at certain parts.  There are many things he points to that need to be addressed.  He points out specific sins and calls for repentance.  He instructs them in correct doctrine and love for one another while putting away self-deception and spiritual pride.  He speaks with authority, and he speaks it from a heart of love.

And how do the Corinthians react?  We learn from his second letter to them that Paul is overjoyed to hear about their godly sorrow.

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. 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.  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.

Though painful at first, his call to repentance led the Corinthians to a place of being broken over their sin and repenting.  Paul tells them that by embracing that brokenness and pain, they have chosen life over death.  I know there are many times when I don't see sin as a matter of life and death.  When I am corrected, do I feel real, godly sorrow, or am I just sorry I got caught?

The attitude of the Corinthians is such that they now long to see the one who corrected them.  They were happy to welcome Titus into their midst.  Paul commends them for their zeal and their desire to see him.  He tells them he has confidence in them.  What encouragement from a spiritual father!

When we embrace the godly sorrow that comes from real correction, we choose life.  We work toward restoring relationships.  We become people who can be used in the kingdom.