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Session 13

It’s Not Too Late to Apologize

Read: 2 Corinthians 7:8-16

When someone calls us out on bad behavior, our instinct is to meet the sting of the truth with denial, then anger. It is far easier to direct anger toward the messenger than to self-reflect and feel the uncomfortable ache of truth being spoken into our lives.

Paul wrote a frank letter to the church in Corinth, causing them sorrow and hurt. It would have been easy for the believers in Corinth to be defensive, dwell on the hurt and respond to Paul with anger and indignation. Contrary to instinct, Paul notes the response of the Christians in Corinth: “I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while — yet now I am happy … because your sorrow led you to repentance” (2 Corinthians 7:8-9).

The church responded not as the world would respond, but as Jesus calls us to. They accepted the feedback, repented, used it to grow spiritually and, along the way, set an example for others. We are still reading about it and learning from it. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (v. 10).

In 2 Corinthians 7:10 Paul reminds us what a dangerous place that is to be in. He says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” Godly sorrow, or true repentance, allows us to experience the divine grace God has for us. We confess and turn from what we have done because repentance causes heart change. Worldly sorrow isn’t God-centered at all. Instead, it’s self-centered. Rather than being truly repentant for what we have done, we are just concerned about having to deal with the consequences of our sins. We want to avoid the pain of the consequence without actually changing, a behavior that ultimately leads to the death of the full life God has planned for us.

Reflect:

  • What is one uncomfortable truth has been spoken into your life? How has that truth impacted you for the better?
  • Do you find yourself experiencing more godly sorrow or worldly sorrow? What is one way you can begin to change the way you ask for forgiveness and repent?

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