READING: Proverbs 19-21, 2 Corinthians 7
“. . . you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance”
2 Corinthians 7:9
The Corinthians had listened to false teachers. Some had turned against Paul and had done little to support him when the false ones condemned him. Their interaction with the apostle included increasingly difficult correspondences, and the Corinthians surely grieved the apostle. In today’s reading, though, we learn that many of the Corinthians had indeed repented after Paul confronted them again via a difficult letter.
It was apparently painful for Paul to write that letter, for it made the Corinthians grieve. Nevertheless, he ultimately did not regret sending it; he was pleased that it made the Corinthians “sorrowful to the point of repentance” (2 Cor. 7:9). Indeed, their repentance brought Paul great joy, especially when he learned from Titus that they longed to see him, mourned over their sin, and zealously defended him (2 Cor. 7:7). Their “godly sorrow” brought them to the end of themselves (2 Cor. 7:11). This result, Paul said, was worth writing his most difficult letter to them. He loved them in their sin, and he loved them in their repentance.
Confrontation is never easy, but this text reminds us why we must do it. It ought to be that we grieve over the sin of brothers and sisters in Christ. Our hearts should break on their behalf, and we consequently both love and confront them. Rightly done confrontation is a loving act –a deeply loving one – when others have turned away from God. Our desire ought to be that we lead them to earnestly return to God – and our hearts praise God while we boast in confidence over what He does in us and others. The process may be painful, but the result is glorious.
- Pray for grace to confront someone if necessary today.
- If someone confronts you today, at least hear the concern. That person might be a gift of God to you.
PRAYER: “Father, grant me courage to confront and humility to listen.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Proverbs 22-24, 2 Corinthians 8