Today’s Bible readings are Ecclesiastes 7:1-9:18, 2 Corinthians 7:8-16, Psalm 48:1-14, & Proverbs 22:17-19
2 Corinthians 7:8-10
8 I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. 9 Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. 10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
As people of faith, we often think that we need to demonstrate such a level of love that we neglect to administer correction where it is needed. We ignore behavior in people that could destroy them. We often do this thinking that it is what love would do. We don’t want to offend people so we keep our mouths shut & let destructive behaviors persist. In the end, this is the worst thing that we could do for an individual.
I do want to take a moment to clarify a couple of things. First, we need to make sure that we are not intentionally offending people. The scripture tells us that an offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city. When we drive unnecessary wedges between us & others we lose our influence with them. They are not going to listen to a word we say if they think we are out to get them. Correction always needs to be mingled with love.
I also know that there are times when we avoid having certain conversations with people because it may be awkward or uncomfortable. This can be the worst thing we could do. Rarely does a problem go away by ignoring it.
I have learned that we have a responsibility to hold each other accountable to a level of Christ-like character that honors God. Sometimes in doing this people can get upset. Sometimes, according to Paul, it may bring sorrow. In the end, that sorrow is a good thing because it brings them to repentance.
I remember a time I was at a conference listen to a preacher teach the Word of God. He said some things that triggered something in me. I began to realize that I had unforgiveness in my heart toward one of my leaders. To be honest, until that point I didn’t even realize it was there. But as the Lord revealed it to me I felt such sorrow inside. That sorrow brought me to a place of deliverance. God freed me from the thing that would have otherwise destroyed me as I repented.
This is the awesomeness of repentance. It doesn’t feel good as we realize that we have erred. It can be an uncomfortable thing as we recognize that we are wrong. Yet, what follows is sweet victory. The sorrow is worth feeling when it brings the freedom in the end.
I want to challenge you to do your best to un-offendable. Here are some things to work on:
1. Don’t get angry when your pastor corrects you.
2. If a sermon convict your heart, don’t assume it was prepared just for you; God could just be using it to bring repentance to you.
3. Stop taking everything so personal. It isn’t always about you.
4. Remember, repentance is a gift from God, not punishment.
5. If something bothers you, there is probably a reason for it, FIND OUT WHY!
6. Do your very best to maintain a heart of humility.
7. Always remind yourself that the Father correct the one HE loves.
Our goal is growth. Sometimes growth can be uncomfortable but in the end it is worth it all.