Today's reading comes from Paul's second letter to the church in Corinth. In the first chapters of this letter, Paul has been dealing with negative problems in that church. However, in today's reading Paul begins to express confidence and joy in the Corinthians and encourages them to seek God's help in order to continue their faithful service.
The verse from today's reading that speaks loudly to me is verse 10, "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
Paul contrasts two types of sorrow. The first is "Godly sorrow" and the second is "worldly sorrow". I feel in this context Paul is using sorrow to mean regret and emotional pain. Repentance means a change in one's ways, a change in behavior, and change in mindset. Paul is telling us that when a person realizes that he or she has done wrong, that person should not only regret the error but also turn back to God. For it is with God's help that people can change their ways and free themselves from sin.
Let's take an example. Let's look at Peter and Judas during the events surrounding Jesus' death. Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss and thus hands him over to suffering and death. Peter denies knowing Jesus three times out of fear for his own safety. Both are overcome with grief due to their actions. Peter had the humility and courage to admit his failure and to seek God's help to change. And we know that God did help him change and used him to build his church. Judas, on the other hand, was too proud, too stubborn, to admit his fault and ask for God's help. Judas let his remorse eat at his soul. And as we know, overcome with guilt, Judas committed suicide.
The sorrow Peter felt caused him to seek God's help and he was transformed into a church leader. Judas did not seek God's help with his sorrow and it eventually lead to his death. One had "Godly sorrow" and the other had "worldly sorrow". When we realize we have done wrong and have regret, do we turn to God for help? Paul clearly indicates that we should!!!