“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. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, but worldly grief produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 (CSB)
Growing up, I remember a poster hanging on my friend’s bedroom wall. It was an enlarged portrait of the Peanuts comic strip character, Charlie Brown. He had a defeated look on his face, and the caption read, “Good Grief.” When people think of grief, we generally relate it to sadness and loss…not happy feelings. But in today’s passage, Paul is saying there is a kind of grief that is actually good and Godly.
Occasionally, I am asked to minister at funerals, so I have seen grief. But we don’t have to experience the death of a loved one to experience grief. Grief comes whenever we suffer loss. Sometimes, the worst loss is the kind that we bring about ourselves.
When I share the gospel, I usually begin with one foundational truth: God is perfect, and His standard is perfection. I’ll follow that truth with another sobering fact: Nobody else is perfect! It doesn’t take long to do the math on this equation. Mankind is in big trouble unless some overwhelming external force intervenes!
I have seen people react to this information in several ways. They display denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Those symptoms are known by psychologists as “the five stages of grief.”
What does “grief” have to do with the gospel?
People who have believed (as truth) the World’s lies, the flesh, and the Devil have incurred GREAT loss. Even though they may not be conscious of that loss, there is presiding anxiety in the World because of it. The gospel exposes that loss. Essentially, the unredeemed person must realize his life has been built on a faulty foundation. Thus, everything his life built upon that foundation must be demolished. The proper foundation (Messiah Jesus) must be laid, and the new believer’s life must be rebuilt upon that firm foundation.
When grief has run its course, it leads to acceptance…moving beyond your grief towards a hopeful future. Are you yet to follow Jesus? What is holding you back? Abundant (even eternal) life awaits your decision.
Though your sin would cost your soul, your debt was paid in full. His grace comes without toll to make the broken whole. God loves you and wants you to receive forgiveness and enter into a saving relationship with Him through a personal relationship with Messiah Jesus. Do it today!
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