For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. 2 Cor 7:10 (NASB)
Paul had said some hard words to the Corinthians about their behavior and sinfulness. The result was great sorrow in the Corinthian church as they worked to purge sin from their midst. As I read this verse, I began to ponder the “practical” difference between the sorrow of repentance and the sorrow of the world. What does it look like in the daily life of a believer?
Immediately the thought of my children came to mind. I am trying to teach them the difference between being sorry because they got caught and being sorry because they sinned. That is the difference Paul is discussing here.
Of course, I couldn’t process through that without questioning my own heart. Many things came to mind. When I disobey by stressing and worrying, am I more sorrowful because I struggle with agitation and disrupted sleep or because I am choosing to not trust? When I slack in discipline in things like eating and exercising or maintaining my household, am I more upset because my clothes get snug and my house is a disaster or because I have defiled the temple and refused to be a good steward? Where is my heart truly?
I am challenged to evaluate my own life and actions just as I am teaching my children to do. My sorrow must be the life-giving sorrow of repentance, not the sorrow of worldly regret.