2 Corinthians 7:8, 11 “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 – 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. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.”
I’m sitting here, writing this letter
And hoping it will make you feel better
We’ve been through the sunshine and the rain
And I never realized that you were in pain, yeah
Someone has mistreated you, left you all alone and blue
And don’t you know it hurts me, too
And, baby, I know my life won’t be the same–Mary Ann, New Edition
We’ve gotten one. That letter. I believe my daddy called it a “Dear John Letter.” It’s a letter you get that is heartbreaking from someone you love. We don’t get letters too much anymore. The art of writing has been replaced with 140 characters. But we used to express our hearts in hand written letters. Our young children are not even taught how to write in cursive anymore.
We need to rediscover the art of writing to express what’s really on our hearts to the people we really love. “Dear John” letters were more about breaking up but if we really love people sometimes we need to write sorrowful letters that are more about making up than breaking up. As a matter of fact if you wrote more sorrowful letters we would end up writing less “Dear John” letters.
The Apostle Paul wrote a sorrowful letter to challenge the Christians in Corinth. They were “sorrowful ” at first but their godly sorrow led to repentance. If we really love someone we owe it to them to speak truth in love. Sometimes the truth hurts! When you are able to communicate hard truth in a loving way it should cause the reader to do the following:
- Godly sorrow leads to repentance. When you write your heart and send a letter to a loved one they should receive it in the spirit it was written and make adjustments according to the truth. If they can’t receive it then they may not be meant to be in your life.
- Eagerness to clear yourself. When you speak truth in love it ought to cause the recipient to want to clear the offense and not just defend their action. How do you want people you love to see you? When Zacchaeus realized how people saw him, he told Jesus he would pay people back if he had stolen from anybody!
- Cause alarming concern. A sorrowful letter should cause the recipient to come out of a selfish place and see how their behavior has impacted another. Some people can’t see themselves unless you hand them a mirror of truth by writing a sorrowful letter.
- A desire to see justice done. This means simply that you want to make things right! When someone takes the time to tell you the truth out of love, you should want to make the relationship right.
Today if you realize that one of your relationships aren’t right, sit down and write out your thoughts on what you feel has gone wrong. Pray about your words and write them down. Send your letter in hopes that “godly sorrow ” would lead to a turn around!
Thank you for the real people in my life who took the time to write me a “sorrowful letter.” I didn’t like everything they said but it helped me examine myself. Thank you most of all for allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to my heart when I get off track and your words bring me back. My life has never been the same.
In Jesus Name,