II Corinthians 7: 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.12 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.13 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.
Godly sorrow comes by the Lord spurring us to repentance. We have the tools that alert us when we sin. God’s Word speaks to us and uncovers where we fail and fall short. Mentally I would have talked myself out of my sin but the Holy Spirit nailed me. He convicted me of my wrong and showed me I had sinned against the Lord. I’m thankful the voice of the Lord speaks to us. He doesn’t enjoy chastising us but he does it for our good. We can act like children—spoiled brats at times. We say we were “in the flesh” as a dignified way of saying we sinned. We become carnal and walk as babes.
The devil can hinder us but he can’t hinder God. We can hinder the Spirit by our actions. It wouldn’t hurt any of us to ask the Lord for daily conviction. He’ll short-sheet our bed so that we can’t enjoy sin. Conviction should bring godly sorrow and repentance. The Lord is not “getting us back” because he’s mad at us. He’s showing us the fruit of our sin. I’d rather be convicted than stand in judgment of sin. The people of Corinth regretted their sin and it brought them to repentance. Godly sorrow leads us to repentance. Repentance makes us right with God.
Looking at verse 11 we see what it does for us. Carefulness: carelessness is what caused us to sin. Now we’re careful. If you walk barefoot in the yard and step on a stone or a briar, your next step is very careful. The devil is out there and when we’re careless we get bit. When we’re sorry we become more careful. Godly sorrow brings repentance and makes us more careful of sin. Clearing: have you ever had an abscessed tooth? You’re ready to get rid of that tooth and get the infection out to be free of the pain. It brings a clearing. That’s what repentance does; it’s a good soul clearing. Indignation: when we’re sorry for our sins it should bring indignation. I can act better than that. I can talk better than that. The Holy Spirit brings indignation making you upset with yourself over what you have done or said. Fear: realize the damage of sin. This should make us afraid. Things have to be fixed up between us and the Lord. Don’t die with unfinished business. Vehement desire: there is burning desire to be free of sin. Godly sorrow puts a desire to be forgiven. There is no need to question God. Let him question us and bring about a desire for repentance. Zeal: get it done quickly. Be sorry and move to repentance right away. Don’t wait until Sunday or Christmas or Easter. If bees get after you you’ll get out of the way in a hurry. That’s how we should deal with sin. As soon as God convicts find a place of prayer. Revenge: exact revenge on yourself. I’m not talking about kicking yourself but admitting the wrong. Tell yourself you’re going to stop. Repent. If you’re not willing to get yourself in line, nobody else will. Approved: when we genuinely repent, God forgives. We’re approved of God. That’s the marvel of God’s grace and love.
Verse 12 tells us this was done because Paul cared. God cares for us and wants us to know it. Because he cares he knows how to bring us to genuine repentance. It’s good that God is so gracious that he makes us feel the misery of our sin. It brings us in full fellowship with him. Being made sorry leads us to repentance—asking God for forgiveness.