“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10, ESV).
I cannot tell a lie, I have some regrets in life. I regret not going on to seminary when I finished my Bachelor’s degree. I regret many poor financial decisions that I made early in life. I regret the bitterness and anger that I clung to for so many years after getting hurt by church leadership.
But I do not—for even a minute—regret the person that the consequences of bad decisions have made me. While it may have taken decades for the pain to be transformed into fruit, transformation has come. I’m a far better man having trod the steep and rocky path of suffering to which my regrets have led.
My choices were regrettable. They produced in me a grief that at times made me wish that I were dead. While I can’t compare my trials to those of the Apostle Paul, I believe that he understood the place in which I found myself. He wrote, “For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.” (2 Corinthians 1:8b, ESV).
It is clear to me that my grief was worldly. I concerned myself with myself. I felt sorry for myself. I felt persecuted—not for godliness—but because I didn’t want to accept responsibility for my bad decisions. Maybe some of you can relate.
Through all of this time I still kept up some appearance of godliness, but without its power (2 Timothy 3:5). But there was a restlessness within me, a discomfort that my sin kept just below the surface. One would think that the sinfulness that caused me such agony would be obvious. One would be wrong!
I was grieving, that was undeniable. But my grief only brought death. Death to life Christ had payed for so dearly. Death to the love and comfort of relationships. Death to any pleasure whatsoever.
But, as I would come to know, there is a grief that leads to a life with no regrets. There came a time when God broke through the hardness of my heart. I finally saw my life for what it was. Selfishness. I cared for other people, don’t get me wrong, but I valued me above all others. I was looking out for Number One, but I was confused about exactly who that was. When God made it all clear to me, my worldly grief turned to godly grief. It produced repentance.
That repentance brought salvation. Please don’t misunderstand me. The life that I was leading, the Bible School graduate, the former youth pastor, the worship leader, all born of a love for God, failed to provide salvation. I had to die to me in order to find life in Him.
In Him I have no regrets.
Blessings on your week!
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