Last week I looked at how comfort helps us to keep an open heart. Today I'm taking this a step further as a comforted heart brings change in us. It enables us to walk as Jesus walked.
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— 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. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. (2 Corinthians 7:8-10 NIV)
There are two kinds of sorrow. Godly sorrow which leads to life and worldly sorrow that leads to death. How are they separated?
Paul's exhortation does not come from a judgemental or critical heart. He comes to the church in Corinth with an overwhelming desire to encourage them and to lead them back into a right relationship with God. He wants them to know that God is a Father to them and they are sons and daughters. For them to enter into this reality they need to change, they have to allow the sorrow Paul feels to bring them to a place of repentance through which they will have an encounter with the Father.
Too often when we deal with other people we do so from a critical heart and all that does is judge and condemn. That's the worldly sorrow that leads to death, not life. It goes back to the two trees in the garden: one brings life, the other death.
Godly sorrow will lead us to repentance, it will restore relationship and it will bring us to an encounter with the love of God where we know that he is being a Father to us. It brings life! We don't have to fear repentance or change as it takes our heart deeper into love.
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Mark Gyde - A Father to YOU