2 Corinthians 7:8-9 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.
Every now and then we need somebody close to us to read us. I’ve heard some females say to another, “Don’t let me read you!” Meaning, they were about to unleash a fury of truth telling about a friend who may be in denial about their offensive behavior. The problem with this is that quite often we wait until we are angry before we “read” somebody. Real friends speak truth in love and instead of reading they may start writing sorrowful letters.
The apostle Paul talks about writing a sorrowful letter to the new church in Corinth. They had gotten out of hand with a man sleeping with his daddy’s wife- like Hakeem did Lucious on Empire. Paul let them know that this kind of behavior would not be tolerated in God’s Kingdom.
When they read the letter their feelings were hurt. For a little while they were feeling a certain kind of way. Paul said, “I see that my letter hurt you but that’s good.” Is it ever good to make people feel bad? Yes! When you do it out of love to save them and not destroy them.
What information are you walking around with that could save somebody but you holding it because you don’t want to hurt them? What you holding could kill them and if you shared it could help them. Are you afraid of hurting them or are you more afraid their response will hurt you?
How do you write a sorrowful letter?
1. Pray about what you are going to say. Taste your words before you open your mouth. Write it out and then sleep on it. Don’t send it before you allow your emotions to calm down.
2. Speak truth in love. Make sure that what you are speaking on is observable behavior and not hearsay. Say it in a way that the person knows you love them. Address it to the person and not other people.
3. Give the person time to feel it. They might be sorrowful but if they have God in them it should lead to repentance.
When you write sorrowful letters, to change the behavior of people you love, it should lead them to do better.
When you write sorrowful letters it should lead to this:
2 Corinthians 7:11 You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you’ve come out of this with purity of heart. And that is what I was hoping for in the first place when I wrote the letter. My primary concern was not for the one who did the wrong or even the one wronged, but for you—that you would realize and act upon the deep, deep ties between us before God. That’s what happened—and we felt just great.
Help me to always speak truth in love to my friends and be able to receive correction my friends who love me. I don’t want to ever be in a place where I can’t receive letters from people who love me or be in a place where they can’t read me. When something is not right in my life or those I love give me the strength to say what needs to be said.
In Jesus name,