Hurts So Good
Read This Week: 2 Corinthians 7
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.
– 2 Corinthians 7:8-9 NIV
What should we learn from confrontation? What should be the proper response and outcome for a Christian when confronted by someone who is sincerely pointing out something that needs to change? In 2 Corinthians 7, we see both the proper response to correction and the result that God intends for His people.
After writing his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul was concerned that he had been too hard on them in his correction of their behavior. He was worried he had crushed their spirits and was feeling sorry for writing it in the first place. Then Titus arrived and brought him the news that the Corinthians wanted restoration. They were sorry about the problems that occurred and the way they acted. They were eager to make things right. Paul was happy with the news, and his previous worry turned into rejoicing.
Here we see the Biblical reply to correction and confrontation as well as the result God intends after a Christ-centered rebuke. Godly sorrow that leads to repentance is the response, and reconciliation is the result. Paul wrote, “Now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance.” And true repentance always restores and sets things right with God first, then with other people.
Paul goes on to say that Godly sorrow and a repentant heart produces character and qualities in us that the Lord desires. He asserts that it increases our spiritual devotion, makes us serious about doing what is right, and causes us to seek justice. It also results in a restoration of relationships and a deeper connection. Verse 12-13 concludes: “I wrote to you so that before God, you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. By all this we are encouraged.” This process, if done God’s way, has an outcome of encouragement and joy.
We can always learn something valuable from healthy confrontation or a time in which we are held accountable. This does not include being verbally assaulted or accused of something patently false. Baseless accusations just hurt without cause. But when the truth is conveyed sincerely, it can draw our attention to a blind spot or area that needs repentance, improvement, and change. These moments can be valuable teaching times that pay life-long dividends.
God uses these moments to bring us closer to Him and people. If it is done in a manner worthy of Christ, the time after a confrontation can be some of the richest with the Lord. He ministers to us in our weakness and brokenness. He assures us of our worth in Jesus and value to others. He also corrects us and turns our minds and hearts toward refinement, growth, and restored relationships. His loving discipline hurts so good.
There is so much in 2 Corinthians 7 and God gave me a song today during Bible study:
Let our hearts change, let our hearts change
Let our hearts change to be like you, Lord
May you flow through us like water in the streams and lakes
You are our comfort, encourager who cheers us on
You are our power and our strength
Who gives us your love
Let our hearts change, let our hearts change
Let our hearts be like you, Lord
Our Lord is so good. His power gives us so much and He honors us and gives us what we need. I am so thankful to the Lord.
Alma, this may be one of my favorite songs of yours so far. May God continuously change our hearts to be like Jesus and may his power, strength and love flow through us like waters in a stream. Such beautiful imagery to describe the Holy Spirit’s movement and work in our lives.
Thank you for sharing that beautiful song, Alma! That is the key in life – to be just like Jesus.
I love this chapter because it shows how much God loves us, cares for us and loves to help and encourage us to grow. He is a good good Father, He is patient, He loves to guide you in the right direction and train you in His ways, and they are good. I know it’s not easy for Him to have to correct us. He does it all because He loves us.
God continues to look for people just like Paul who Gave his life to Jesus, who loves Him and loves to serve, and help people to Grow. I know it blesses His heart when we’re thankful for the people He puts in our lives to listen to them to encourage us, comfort, correct us when we need it. I’m so thankful for all the people God put in my life to help me to grow, especially my Pastor Randy that is in Heaven hanging out with Jesus now. I’m so thankful for all the time he spent teaching us, correcting us, which was never easy for him to do. He guided us and encouraged us. God truly gave us the best godly father in the Lord.
Like Paul, when Titus came back with good news, that the people who loved God were growing. He was so encouraged and was overflowing with joy. That is the most wonderful feeling when you have been mentoring someone and you haven’t heard from them in a while, and someone sees them and gives you a good report of their growth in the Lord. They have stopped living the way they used to in the world, how they care for you, care about your feelings, and all you have done to help them because you care and love them so much. This brings so much joy.
God is saying, “I love you! All that I do and say is because I care for you.”
I think your first couple of lines captures the essence of 2 Corinthians 7, Heidi. The correction that we receive from God that often comes through other people is nothing more than the expression of how much God loves, cares for and desires to see us grow. He loves us enough to correct us and put us on the right path. That is such a hard paradigm and perspective to accept in the middle of his discipline and correction because it hurts, but it is truly out of the heart of God’s love.
I am glad He loves me enough to correct me and help me grow. And like you, I am glad for those he has put in my life to be his mouthpiece of rebuke and correction. It is truly an act of his grace and kindness and mercy to show us the way and lovingly discipline us to get there.
God gave me a word out of 2 Corinthians 7 verse 10. When the heart cries, from deep within, with tears of joy from the shame of sin. It knows God, it deserves nothing but has found that He is its everything. The heart weeps deep inside with tears of joy at God how consoles.
What that means to me is that I recognize the need for all God’s favor and I see God’s mercy through His grace. And when I am mournful over my sin is the heart that Jesus truly wants.
Thank you for this sobering and convicting word, Jeri. Paul also writes in Romans 2:4 – “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” Here he evokes the same premise as you do in your comment. The kindness, grace, and mercy of God should lead us to repentance and the right relationship with Him. As you said, this is the heart that Jesus truly wants and desires.
This Sunday was awesome! Thank you, Pastor Ken. God gave me another song this week called, “Follow Me”:
Follow me, follow me, follow me, my children
Open your hearts to all people
Be ready, be ready to bring people together
Praising, praising, praising and overflowing with love
My Pride in you is great
Follow me, follow me, follow me, my children.
God was saying to me to be ready to bring people together. Even when it seems impossible, He wants me to plant seeds.
Praise God for these words, Alma. May we all be ready and willing to bring people together and be an encouragement to them as we follow Jesus. These are challenging times and the Lord desires for us to be a light and hope to others even as you said when it seems impossible. We should still be faithful to Him and serve others.
This whole chapter really spoke to me. This is what I heard God saying to me. If you separate yourself from worldly thinking and acting, you are promised a closer relationship with Me. You need to do a self-cleansing for more intimacy with Me. Cleansing comes to you as you trust in Jesus and His work on your behalf. The cleansing requires your will and effort. How can you expect Me to purify your heart if you continue to live in sin? There is also filthiness of the Spirit to cleanse yourself from.
The Christian life is not just getting rid of evil, but continually doing and becoming good. The more light you get, the more you will discover your own darkness. You must be honest and open to seeing the truth. Close your heart to the world, and open your heart to Me. I want you to abound in joy even in all your tribulations. I am the God of all comfort. Sorrow and repentance are not the same things. Sorrow is a feeling while repentance describes a change in both your mind and in your life. Those who repent, are saved. You can’t turn towards me without turning away from things I am against. Godly sorrow produces repentance. Repentance means to turn around, but it takes diligence to stay turned around. Repentance shows the clearing of guilt and shame. Repentance shows a fear that you would ever fall back into that sin, and that you have zeal in your walk with me. Repentance shows vindication.
What this said to me is that I have to actively participate with God in cleaning me up. I have to be willing and open to Him. I have to turn towards Him and turn away from my sin, and then stay diligent to stay turned around.
This was a fascinating line from your comment: What this said to me is that I have to actively participate with God in cleaning me up. I have to be willing and open to Him. I think this brings up a valid thought. Repentance and the path of living beyond our sin is not a passive pursuit for believers. The tendency for us is to repent then go about our way in an unengaged manner. We can think the confession out of Godly sorrow is our only responsibility.
But the very definition of repentance is to turn from something and walk the other way. This presupposes that we have an active role and participation in God’s continuing and sanctifying work in our lives beyond our repentance. We are to turn from our sin and walk the other way in step with the Spirit while drawing closer to God. I really appreciate your thought here.