“Stan,” I said, “I’m confused about something.”
“What do you have?” Stan replied.
“One of the people I work with says he has become a Christian. He says he made a confession about being sorry for his sins, but I can’t see any real difference in him from what he was before.”
Continuing, I asked, “Is it possible he is kidding himself about being a Christian?”
“Only God can answer that question with any finality,” Stan replied, “but it has to be kept in mind that there is a big difference in why people say they are sorry for their sins.”
Continuing, he added, “Are they sorry they have been caught, a self-focused sorrow, or is their sorrow from God?”
“Sorrow from God?” I replied. “What does that mean?”
“The apostle Paul mentioned this in his second letter to the church in Corinth,” Stan replied, “when he pointed out the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow.”
“What did he say?” I asked.
“He wrote that sorrow that is according to the will of God will produce repentance, which, as we have talked about, means a total change in direction. Making a U-turn.”
“I think,” Stan continued, “that if there is no discernible change in a person, it may be that there is no repentance. And if there is no repentance, it may be fair to ask what kind of sorrow was it that motivated the person in having sorrow. Was it godly sorrow leading to repentance or worldly sorrow for getting caught.”
“Keep in mind,” Stan added, “that Paul warned that the sorrow of the world produces death.”
“However,” he concluded, “the bottom-line is that only God can judge. We can discern from what we see. Then we can use that discernment to come along side a person and, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, seek to help that person turn from one direction to go in another. Doing that may help the person avoid the consequences of only having worldly sorrow.”
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 2 Corinthians 7:10.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you want confession to lead to repentance, a total change of direction. Thank you for showing the difference between godly and worldly sorrow, the difference you want in your people. Thank you that you want your presence in me to make a difference in the way I am going, what I am doing, and in what I am. I ask that you open me totally to hear, listen to, and follow your voice so that I go only the way you have for me to go so that your presence in me makes a difference for you. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Things to think (and journal) about:
1. What is your biggest take-away from this devotional?
2. What does this devotional say about God and about us as His people?
3. What is God saying to you to do personally?
4. Who can you share this with to make a difference?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.