Constructive Sorrow
2 Corinthians 7:8-11

We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

We all have to deal with sorrow. We may try to stuff it down and ignore it. We may try to drown it or avoid feeling it by intellectualizing. But sorrow doesn't go away. We need to accept the sorrow that will be a part of the inventory process.

Not all sorrow is bad for us. The apostle Paul had written a letter to the church in Corinth. It made them very sad because Paul was confronting them about something that they were doing wrong. At first he was sorry that he had hurt them. But later he said, "Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have. . . . For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There's no regret for that kind of sorrow. . . . Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, . . . such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong" (2 Corinthians 7:9-11).

Jeremiah said, "Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow" (Lamentations 3:32-33).

This grief was good, for it came from honest self-evaluation, not morbid self-condemnation. We can learn to accept our sorrow as a positive part of our recovery, not just as punishment.

Honest self-examination can lead us to a sorrow that inspires our growth.