“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvaton and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
2 Corinthians 7:10 TNIV
Paul is writing, again, to the Church at Corinth. He has received word from Titus that the Church in Corinth has turned away from false teachings and turned back to Paul’s teaching- the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul is aware that his previous letter caused the Church some sorrow or grief because he was willing to confront what he believed were to be false teachings. He spoke truth, and in verse 8 he acknowledges that it “hurt” the Church in Corinth. Yet, through some godly sorrow, some godly grief- those in the Church turned away from the false teaching- Paul rejoices because this godly grief led to repentance (which seems to be a theme on this second week of Advent)
How often, as Christians, Pastors, leaders, friends are we unwilling to cause a little godly sorrow or grief because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings? Or maybe we’re afraid that we’ll come across as judgemental. Or we don’t like to rock the boat and are content to live with the status quo. Does you ever find yourself in that place? I have to admit that I do.
In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus says these words,
“If a brother or sister sins, go and point out the fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
Jesus tells his disciples and us that we are to confront our brothers and sisters in sin. Why? Because sin leads to death. It leads to seperation from God. Do we love our brothers and sisters enough to confront in love and grace? Do we love our brothers and sisters enough to hope that they would confront us when we sin?
No one likes confrontation. I generally try to avoid it. But confrontation that Paul and Jesus speak about can work when it is done with love, grace, and prayer. We must care enough for our church members and our friends that we are willing to speak up rather than keep quite in silent approval.
A while back, I had to deal with a situation of someone on a leadership team of a ministry I was leading. It absolutely killed me to have to confront this person. I was in tears because I loved and cared about this person as a friend and as a Christian. After our meeting, I knew I had stepped on their toes. I knew that I had caused them grief. I wondered if I had gone too far.
A few weeks later, in the middle of a Bible Study- this person spoke of that meeting and how it helped them come to a place where they could turn away (repent) of their sin and turn back to God. I praised God that night that Godly sorrow could lead to repentance. I praised God that the Holy Spirit worked in their life to bring them to a place of repentance. I thanked God that God was showing me how to confront in love and grace because I care about the spiritual condition of the church.
So, let us as Christians, be encouraging to one another. Let us speak words of life and grace into each others lives. And when a brother or sister strays from God- let us love them enough that we would risk some godly sorrow that they might turn back to God. Let us love our brothers and sisters enough that when we stray from God- that we will allow them to speak into our lives as well.