Wednesday, 16 September 2015
For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. 2 Corinthians 7:8
Paul now refers to the previous letter that he sent to them by saying, “For even if I made you sorry with my letter…” The KJV erringly states “with a letter.” There is an article in front of “letter” and therefore either “the letter” or “my letter” is appropriate here. He isn’t referring to any letter, but to the specific letter which brought about their sadness.
In having sent it, sorrow came upon the recipients. Despite this, Paul could not feel regret over the sternness of the words he used. However, he does qualify his thought by noting that “I did regret it.” At first, he realized that his words had been taken as a point of grief and anxiety by the Corinthians and he felt a bit remorseful about his comments. But when he saw the temporary nature of their remorse and the quick turning about in their conduct, he realized that no true regret was necessary.
This is explained clearly in his words, “For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while.” Paul had no intention of bringing permanent unhappiness to the Corinthians. Instead, he intended to bring about true correction leading to restoration. When it became evident that this had happened, instead of regret, he certainly felt relief.
Life application: Sometimes a stern approach is necessary to wake someone, or even a group of people, up from their slumber. In many parts of the Bible, this is exactly what the Lord does for His people. He sends them sternness in order for them to turn back to Him. When the intended correction is realized, there can only be joy all around.
Heavenly Father, Your word is filled with examples of extremely direct rebuke towards Your people in an attempt to get them to wake up, turn back to You, and proceed on a correct path. When correction is necessary, You are shown to hand it out. Israel was to learn this through two exiles and much grief. Help me to be one who is firm on doctrine as well, never yielding to anything less than total adherence to Your word. With this, I know that correction won’t be needed. Guide me, O God. Amen.