Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
Now I rejoice, not because you were made sad, but because you were made sad to the point of repentance. For you were made sad as God intended, so that you were not harmed in any way by us. For sadness as intended by God produces a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving no regret, but worldly sadness brings about death. 2 Corinthians 7.9-10
Repentance is necessary. It is not just feeling sad because you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar. After all, when your mom leaves the room, you go for another cookie! It is a decision to change the direction in which you are headed. The decision to change your behavior to be in submission to God’s will. To be obedient to him.
When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, he had addressed several problems and sins that were occurring among the Christians in the church in Corinth. Now he is rejoicing because they had repented. Yes, his first letter had made many sad, but the end result had been a change of behavior on their part.
When someone comes to me to correct me in a behavior that is sinful and wrong, I must be willing to listen. It is a matter of salvation, my salvation. It might make me sad or even angry, but if I consider what is being said, I have the opportunity to change. That change is repentance! But the one who feels sadness alone without repentance brings about death. Sin will drive the person further away from God.
Sadness alone is not what God wants. He wants me to repent and change my actions without regret. For that is what leads me to salvation!