II CORINTHIANS 7:10: “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. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.” NLT
OBSERVATION: Can you imagine driving a car without rearview or side-view mirrors? You would only have visibility to what lies ahead of you. There would be no visibility to what was coming from behind or on either side.
It is inevitable – you would be heading toward a collision.
Everyone who drives a car knows the value of a rear-view mirror. Yet, few know that most automobiles did not have one until 1921. This means that for at least two decades people drove with no visibility to what was coming from behind. Almost no one alive remembers these early days. Yet, many people live their life without a spiritual rear-view mirror. To travel through life without a proper rear-view perspective is just as dangerous if not more so.
Our spiritual rear-view mirror is sorrow. Sorrow is defined as deep distress, sadness, or regret. Everyone will experience sorrow in their lifetime. It is important to choose our sorrow wisely. There is godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. Godly sorrow is known as repentance. Worldly sorrow is known as regret. One leads to life – the other to death!
- “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.”
When a person allows the Holy Spirit to convict them of sin, righteousness, and judgment, there is always sorrow. We understand the gravity of our sin and we turn our hearts in sincere repentance to the Lord. To repent is not merely to say we are sorry. To repent is to turn from our sin and back to God. It is a 180-degree about-face in both our attitudes and actions. As we turn to the Lord we are met with His love, forgiveness, and cleansing – and the image in our rear-view mirror changes!
When we look in the rear-view mirror of our lives we do not see our failures and brokenness. We see the Cross! And, when we look to the pathway that lies before us we see the Cross! It is the Cross of Jesus Christ that now defines us and guides us. We are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Our sins, though as scarlet, have been washed white as the snow. And, the sorrow that we experienced does not produce any regret. There is no condemnation and no regret for those who are in Christ Jesus. We have died to our past and are now walking in the newness of life!
The sorrow of the world is not like this. It produces the fullness of distress, sadness, and regret. There is no redemption or transformation. The regret of worldly sorrow produces a jaded and bitter heart. At the end of this broken trail is spiritual death. It is not the cessation of existence. Spiritual death is a life that will go on eternally, separated from God, and overcome by regret. All that one can see when they look through this rear-view mirror is a pathway of missed opportunities and broken dreams.
It is important to choose our sorrow wisely!
When we choose godly sorrow we experience the paradox of faith. God takes our broken lives and transforms them into something beautiful by His grace. He begins to redeem our past and propel us into His future for our lives. Suddenly our attitude and our choices begin to radically change.
- “Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.” 2 Corinthians 7:11 NLT
How can two sorrows be so different? The answer is Jesus! Jesus is the rear-view mirror that gives us life. He redeems our past and future. He fills us with the Holy Spirit and leads us in the paths of righteousness. He redefines our life and purpose. He transforms our sorrow into joy!
- “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” Isaiah 61:3 NLT
It is important to choose our sorrow wisely!
Lord, this morning, help me to adjust my rear-view mirror. Grant me the grace to see Your Cross proclaiming my forgiveness and freedom. Help me to choose my sorrow wisely! Lead me from godly sorrow to Your overflowing joy!
In Jesus Name!