Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Is it Kindness or Sorrow?

Which one is it, kindness or sorrow? Paul states that both are the path to repentance. How can two things that are virtually polar opposites, kindness and sorrow, both lead to the same place? Wouldn’t it make sense that if kindness leads us to repentance then sorrow would lead us in the completely opposite direction like indulgence in the world? If sorrow leads us to repentance, then kindness should lead us to worldly passions.

I think it is totally amazing that God can use both his kindness and sincere godly sorrow to bring about the same conclusion in our lives – a repentance that leads to salvation. Let’s look at the text and examine each path to repentance.
Kindness:
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? – Romans 2:4

Godly Sorrow:
Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. – 2 Corinthians 7:8-11
I say thank you God for being so diligent, patient, and kind with us. And for doing whatever it takes (kindness & sorrow) to lead us to repentance and save our souls. Father, thank you for using the Holy Spirit and others (Paul to the Corinthians) to speak into our lives, to declare the Gospel, and to expose the offense of sin so that we may be reconciled to you through faith and repentance.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was familiar with the two passages you used, but I guess I just never thought about them at the same time. You brought them together beautifully!

Pastor Mark said...

Eric,
You have made a nice observation about kindness & sorrow. Kindness, of course is God's attitude toward us, sorrow is our attitude toward our sin and shame. I can imagine God as the kind father calling His child to repent. I too can imagine us, awash in our sorrow concerning our sin turning with a mix of emotions toward the grace that God offers.

Pastor Mark said...

Eric,
You have made a wonderful observation concerning kindness & sorrow. Kindness is God's attitude toward us. Sorrow is our attitude toward our sin and shame, especially in contrast to God's kindness. I can imagine God, the loving father, responding to the unrepentant in kindness. And I can imagine the unrepentant responding in sorrow to their sin. Truly God is good, who saves us by His grace (Romans 5:15, 17, 20).