2 Corinthians 7: I’m Sorry
“For the sorrow that is according to the will of God
produces a repentance without regret,
leading to salvation,
but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
2 Corinthians 7:10, NASB
With a wind mightier than a hurricane, my temper had controlled my tongue and spewed hateful words—causing a flood of tears and leaving a wake of damage to my fifth-grade classmate’s heart. She didn’t retaliate but ran to find a refuge from the gale of hate. Like a thundercloud about to burst again, I stalked to the restroom to rid myself of the storm raging in me. The Lord was about to teach me the meaning of repentance.
Repentance is not a word we hear often anymore, because it means—
- we’ve done something wrong that needs righted,
- have thought wrong and need a change of attitude,
- or let self reign in our heart and need to change rulers.
- It opposes the world’s view of selfishness.
The worldly sorrow is a sorrow without change and produces—
- a life bound to repeat the same action causing more sorrow.
- It destroys relationships, peace, and true joy.
- It produces a defeated life wrapped in guilt,
- leads to the hardening of our heart,
- death to hope of anything better—and in the end, death to our spirit.
Godly sorrow occurs when we are ready to agree with God that sin is sin. It brings—
- repentance, a change made in us.
- Our desire is to please God taking precedent over our selfish desire—we have as our ambition … to be pleasing to Him. (2 Corinthians 5:9)
- sorrow is turned to rejoicing
Apostle Paul explains what happens when godly sorrow brings repentance—
“What earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow has produced in you—
That there should be no division in the body,
but that the members
should have the same care for one another.
What vindication of yourselves—
(For the fruit of the light consists in
all goodness and righteousness and truth),
trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
And (do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness,)
but instead even expose them;
I have surely heard Ephraim grieving,
‘Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised,
Like an untrained calf;
Bring me back that I may be restored,
For Thou art the LORD my God.
For after I turned back, I repented;
A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil,
But a fool is arrogant and careless …
Therefore having these promises, beloved,
let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit,
perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
(Proverbs 14:16;2 Corinthians 7:1)
As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for Thee O God.
What zeal, what avenging of wrong!—
Sufficient for such a one is this punishment
which was inflicted by the majority,
so that on the contrary
you should rather forgive and comfort him,
lest somehow such a one
be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow …
reaffirm your love for him.
2 Corinthians 2:6-8
In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter—
Giving no cause for offense in anything,
in order that the ministry be not discredited,
but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God .”
2 Corinthians 6:3,4
Back to my story—I was sorry I made her cry, but wasn’t it her fault I lost control? I splashed water on my face, took a breath, and looked in the mirror. At that moment, Jesus’s words to my heart showed me the desired action of godly sorrow. “Go, ask her forgiveness, if you are really sorry.”
Godly sorrow humbles the heart to realize a change is needed. Repentance is the product of that sorrow to accept our need and continue growing in our salvation from faith to faith, glory to glory.
Remember, as Jesus says, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline;
be zealous therefore, and repent.”
For Thought: How is godly sorrow displayed, and how does it differ from selfish sorrow? Is it more than “turning over a new leaf?”
Our Prayer: Heavenly Father, you desire mercy rather than judgment. Help us to humble ourselves before you, repent, and draw near to you—when we have wronged another, when we have wronged you. That we may enjoy sweet fellowship with you through being made innocent in all things.
Underlined scriptures are from 2 Corinthians 7:11, NASB. All scriptures are from NASB