(2 Corintians 7:9a) “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance:…”
“Sorry” is not the same as repentance. We mistake the one for the other. This leads to misunderstandings. Just because we say “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean we’ve repented. This is true even if the sorrow is genuine, not simply sorry that our wrong has been discovered or called out. Genuine sorrow is experienced when our heart is tender and sensitive to the Lord – we’re sorry for sin committed when confronted with the truth. We see the wrong in our heart and it hurts us that we did something against the One who bought us with His own blood. If the sin was against someone else, our heart is broken for them as well. When we’re truly sorry, all the emotions we covered up rise to the surface and we weep for the evil we allowed into our life.
Unfortunately, we don’t realize that being sorry doesn’t change anything. Sorrow is an emotional response when confronted with the truth. But Paul makes it clear in this passage that his goal wasn’t to confront the Corinthians with their sin in order to make them sorry. We should also take note that he didn’t see the truth as a tool to create sorrow. Making others sorry for their sin should never be our primary objective when confronting them with truth. The objective is repentance. Repentance means to change the mind. Through Paul’s letter, God reveals what the proper response should be when confronted with the truth — repentance. Sorrow is a short term response. Usually people say “I’m sorry” when they want to get the burden of the problem off their back. But repentance is a long term solution that deals with the root cause of evil thinking that lead to the evil action. Once our mind is changed to think truth, we can go back to living out the truth.
Renewed Thought – “I’m sorry” — just words until backed up with a changed mind producing a changed life.