2 Corinthians 7:10 (ESV) -- For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
Have you ever felt terrible about something you’ve done? All three of my children have had the temperaments that crumbled when they knew I was upset or disappointed in them. I have given plenty of spankings, but I haven’t needed to give too many. Their feelings were hurt by my sheer displeasure. Kaleigh, my oldest daughter, will cry and nearly hyperventilate when she’s in trouble. Her grief is so heavy when she knows she’s done wrong or messed up.
Our passage today helps us to understand and know the difference between what godly grief is and what worldly grief is. Paul writes, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” Most people have likely not considered that there are different kinds of grief. One is godly and the other is worldly.
Paul says that godly grief produces repentance. This means that the good kind of grief is the kind that shows we understand the weight of our sins, we show remorse for them, and we turn away from them to obey God. This is healthy grief because it makes us holy. It produces godliness. Paul says ungodly grief leads to despair, or death. The reason is because we feel bad for a period of time, but then it subsides, and we go back to our lives. The more we live this way, the less sensitive to our sins we become. The less grief we feel. This breeds spiritual death because we begin living in our sins.
The healthiest Christians are the ones that hate their sins and use their grief over sin to repent and turn back to God. This is how we should live as believers. Our desire to honor and please God should make us grieve when we don’t. This grief should lead us to recognize Christ’s forgiveness of our sins, and we should rely on the Spirit to help us turn from sin and walk in obedience.
Reflection & Journal:
- What are some examples in your life of grieving sin?
- Why does ungodly grief lead to death? What does that look like?
- How can we assure that we let godly grief reign in our lives as Christians? What helps can we take advantage of?
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