Thursday, June 26, 2008

2 Corinthians 7:10

10Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. – 2 Corinthians 7:10

When I opened the Word this morning I was unsure of where I was going to go with my writing. Rarely have I had a verse slap me in the face after a few minutes of leafing through the Bible, but this morning that was exactly the case. I am one of those people that likes to write in my Bible. To me, that is a sign of it being the true living word of God. I underline things. I write small notes in the margins. I cannot remember why I had underlined the verse above or when I did so, but it caught my eye this morning because I had taken this extra effort. Sorrow seems to be a recurring theme lately in my life.

Most days I am filled with sorrow for a number of reasons. It even feels like a case of if it’s not one thing, it is another. In my estimation, this is the worldly sorrow that Paul is referring to in this verse. What gets me down are things in this world that are far beyond my control. When it comes to my job search I can only do so much. I can send out a thousand resumes and contact a thousand different businesses, but I cannot make them call me back or respond to my e-mails.

It also goes beyond this. Other examples of worldly sorrow include bills, health concerns, worry about family and friends, and tons more. These are the things that can overwhelm us if we let them. I am just as guilty as anyone else of letting them overwhelm me as well. Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by the guilt of our own sin, and that is the death that Paul is referring to here.

There are many things that I have done in this life that I regret. For the longest time I let them control me. It pushed me into depression and bitterness, driving away many people that honestly cared about me. One example in particular is a girl I dated while still in college. I recognize now it would have never worked out between us, but at the time I seemed hell bent on making sure of that fact because of mistakes I had made in my past. She was someone who genuinely cared about my well-being, but I pushed her away because I thought I was only going to hurt her in the end. I didn’t realize I was hurting her in the present by doing so.

The difference between this worldly sorrow over sin and Godly sorrow is what we do about it. Godly sorrow draws us closer to Christ seeking repentance for such mistakes. As Paul states, if we seek repentance through Godly sorrow, there are no regrets. We are promised that once we seek forgiveness our sins are separated from us as far as the east is from the west.

Regret is a difficult emotion to avoid because of our human nature. There are some things that I know I have received forgiveness for, but there is still some regret lingering within me. It is how I treat this regret that makes the difference between worldly sorrow and Godly sorrow. If I let it control me, it is worldly sorrow. If I give it back to God when I struggle it becomes Godly sorrow.

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