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The Scriptorium

Love Hurts. Sometimes.

But it leads to repentance. 2 Corinthians 7.8-10

2 Corinthians 7 (4)

Pray Psalm 139.23, 24.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

Sing Psalm 139.23, 24.
(Ripley: Hallelujah! Praise Jehovah, O My Soul)
Search my heart, O LORD, and know me, as You only, LORD, can do.
Test my thoughts and contemplations, whether they be vain or true.
Let there be no sin in me, LORD, nothing that Your Spirit grieves.
Lead me in the righteous way, LORD, unto everlasting peace!

Read 2 Corinthians 7.1-10; meditate on verses 8-10.


1. Of what was Paul not sorry?

2. Why was sorrow necessary for the Corinthians?

Titus reported to Paul that his first letter to the Corinthians had afflicted them with sorrow. We can see why. They became downcast, disappointed in themselves, and repentant before the Lord; and this would not have happened if Paul had not made them face up to their childish, sinful ways and get back on the Yes Path with Jesus.

So he was not sorry that he had made them sorrowful. Theirs was godly sorrow, and it only lasted for a little while (v. 8). Once they began to change their ways, repenting of their sins and seeking the Lord for His good and perfect will, they soon recovered their joy in Him (v. 9). They were in danger of losing the greatness of Jesus’ salvation, and Paul was determined not to let that happen. The godly sorrow to which his letter brought them was the necessary precondition for true repentance and renewal (v. 10).

Love can hurt sometimes. But if it’s true love—like the love Paul had for the Corinthians—then the hurt will only be brief. Healing will follow as the Lord works on our hearts to correct our misguided affections and wayward ways. Every next step of repentance and renewal will bring us deeper into the joy of the Lord, and we will remember the hurt no more.

As the Lord searches our hearts daily, He may bring to mind thoughts or ways that neither please Him nor edify our brethren. We will be chagrined, ashamed even, and sorrowful. But as we confess our sins and call on the Lord for the grace of repentance, our joy will return and with that joy, the confidence that God will use us in His work by the renewing power of His Word and Spirit.

God afflicted His Son Jesus so that, when He afflicts us, we may remember Jesus’ suffering for our sins and rejoice in the soul-hurting, soul-healing love of our heavenly Father.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Our brother Asaph, the psalmist, felt himself about to slip into sin. His relationship with God was close enough that when God warned him that sin was lying at his door, he chose to rule over it (Gen. 4.7) and regain his footing with the LORD.

He reported, “My steps had nearly slipped, for I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Ps. 73.2, 3).

But then he had this conviction, “Thus my heart was grieved, and I was vexed in my mind. I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You” (Ps. 73.21, 22).

Which led to his epiphany, “Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory” (Ps. 73.23, 24).

His sorrow led to repentance, which finally led to blissful rejoicing and love, for he was then able to say, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps. 73. 25. 26).

Solidly restored in his hope and salvation, he could say with assurance, “For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry. But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Your works” (Ps. 73.27, 28).

Back in the saddle again.

This is how it goes for the children of God: He loves us enough to convict us of sin through His Word and the Holy Spirit (Heb. 4.12, 13); and He is gracious enough to forgive us of sin when we ask Him to (1 Jn. 1.9).
We are then restored to get back to work in His Kingdom and for His glory.

And we hold in our hearts the promise from God of what He can do, how He can make sorrow go away, and how we will rejoice perpetually, fervently, and eternally in Him: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new’” (Rev. 21.3, 4).

Sorrow leading to repentance leading to LIFE—"remembering Jesus’ suffering for our sins and rejoicing in the soul-hurting, soul-healing love of our heavenly Father.”

“Now I rejoice” (2 Cor. 7.9).

For reflection
1. What is your practice of allowing the Lord to search your soul?

2. Why should that practice sometimes lead to sorrowing? What should you do then?

3. We should expect to know godly sorrow from time to time. Why?

There is a great difference between this sorrow of a godly sort, and the sorrow of the world. The happy fruits of true repentance are mentioned. Where the heart is changed, the life and actions will be changed. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on 2 Corinthians 7.5-11

Pray Psalm 139.11-18.
Thank God that He knows and loves you. Praise Him for making you who you are, and call on Him to empower you to fulfill your calling today.

Sing Psalm 139.11-18.
(Ripley: Hallelujah! Praise Jehovah, O My Soul)
Neither light nor dark conceals me; day as night is with You, LORD!
All my inward parts You fashioned by Your all-decreeing Word.
Praise the LORD, for You have made me; all Your wondrous works I’ll tell!
All Your works declare Your glory, and my soul knows this full well!

All my unformed frame You witnessed when You destined all my days.
Precious to me, LORD, Your precepts; all Your wondrous Word I praise.
More than sand, Your thoughts to me, LORD, far too vast their sum for me!
When the morning breaks upon me, in Your Presence I shall be.

T. M. and Susie Moore

Growing in prayer
Growing in Christ begins in and is sustained by prayer. But how can we improve our prayer life so that we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord? Our free online course, “Perspectives on Prayer”, can lead you to a deeper and more satisfying prayer life with the Lord. Watch this brief introductory video, then enroll for the course and download the materials. Get a friend or two to go through it with you and strengthen one another for the work of prayer.

Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

And please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 103 Reynolds Lane, West Grove, PA 19390.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable by clicking here.


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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