How many of you take correction well? I don’t. Correction humiliates me. Why? The answer to that is probably above my pay grade. I have a lot of pride and I don’t like being wrong. You would think I would have made some headway by now….60 years. I suspect you are like me. Correction is hard!
2 Corinthians 7:9-10 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
9 I now rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance. For you were grieved as God willed, so that you didn’t experience any loss from us. 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, but worldly grief produces death.
Paul had written an earlier letter to the Corinthian church which addressed a variety of problems within the church. He was very straight forward and to the point. The list of sins that needed correcting was long and he was addressing some specifically, but the whole body principally. This second letter he writes after getting news from the returning courier. He was uncertain what response the letter would elicit.
Paul is relieved because the Corinthian church responded with repentance rather than pride, anger and hostility. What was the key to their response? We can respond in one of three ways. The first I already mentioned. They could have responded in opposition. They could have exerted their rights. They could have been angry and offended. They could have told Paul that he had no right to judge them. Another response could have been humiliation and shame. The could have condemned themselves and seen themselves as worthless failures. However, they responded with the correct response. They repented. They apparently were able to see failings and to know that the cure is with God. They chose God rather than pride.
What about us? I am challenging myself to not be so “thin skinned.” I am going to ask God to make me righteous. Not a righteousness that I am able to attain myself, but righteous that come about from Christ alone. Righteousness that declares me right before God and that I would be transformed into a person who is about doing right things. The true path to this is listening to what God says, living a lifestyle of repentance, and being willing to be molded into His image.