7 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
2 Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. 4 I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.
5 For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.
8 Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— 9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
In verse 10 of this passage, Paul writes that “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” We often conflate accountability with being judgmental. If my friend calls me out on my sin, I have two choices: I can either acknowledge his admonition as an opportunity to repent and grow, or I can reject it and dismiss it as an unfair judgment on who I am. The former reaction comes from a place of humility; the latter comes from a place of pride.
God calls us to repent – not because He wants us to feel bad about ourselves, but because He wants us to experience salvation and the freedom of living without regret. But if our pride interferes, the accountability of a loving friend will result in ‘worldly sorrow,’ which is marked by hurt feelings, calloused hearts and an insensitive spirit.
Think of a time when someone challenged you to change a belief, action or idea because it was not consistent with Biblical teachings. It is natural that you initially felt ‘sorrow,’ but did that lead to repentance and new life? Or did it result in embittered feelings and relational distance? Part of being a believer is acknowledging our sinful state and knowing that God’s love is bigger than our sin and we can live in freedom as we turn away from our sin and towards Him.
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What does this passage tell you about humanity?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
- Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.
Think of someone you know who could use a little joy in their lives and pray for the presence of the Lord to rest on them. “In His presence, there is the fullness of Joy” Psalm 16:11.