Good Grief

Pat McFall


"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but wordly sorrow brings death." 2 Corinthians 7:10


In addition to 1 and 2 Corinthians Paul has referred to one or two more letters that he has written to the church in Corinth. It’s clear that He loved this church and wanted their best. In vs.8 he addresses the fact that he may have grieved them or hurt them by his words. It seems like Paul is torn. In one sense he regrets causing anyone any hurt but in another sense he knows that the fruit of any pain let the Corinthians to a true repentance. A repentance that consisted of a change of heart, mind and action. Paul calls this grief a ‘godly grief’ and he says that the difference between this and ‘worldly grief’ is that godly grief produces and changed mind and life without any regret of past wrongs whereas worldly grief produces death. Why? Maybe it’s because there is no hope for reconciliation in the world the way that there is in Christ (ch.5:11-21).


I liken this parallel of godly/worldly grief to conviction/guilt. Often they look the same at first but their fruit is what sets them apart. They both may start with a sense of disappointment in myself and even a sadness at where I fell short but guilt will not drive me confidently to the throne of grace like what Hebrews 4:16 tells me to do, guilt will leave me to look inward and after finding no solace will leave me condemned and broken. But godly guilt or conviction is a different thing completely. Conviction leaves me to deal with the full weight of my own sin and brokenness, it confronts me with my good intentions gone wrong and it reveals the fake self that I place in front of people in order to not feel so broken. But instead of leaving me in pieces, the Holy Spirit by His conviction and comfort draws me towards the mercy of God where I find forgiveness and restoration. This is the place where because of the fruit of my sin I decide that I don’t want to think that way anymore (changes of mind) and I want a deeper sense of satisfaction (change of heart) so I’m going to respond differently now (change of behavior).


God help me to embrace the conviction and correction of your Father’s heart. You always draw me towards you, even when you are disciplining me. Thank you for the freedom I have in you.

Devotions for April 07

1 Samuel 1,2
Psalms 66
2 Corinthians 7

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