2 Corinthians 7:8
For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while.
Maybe you’re like me and have some regrets from the past. Maybe you can do what I have done and turn those regrets into something good. For example, for many years I sat in the pews at church and never gave evangelism a second thought. I’m not sure if I just ignored or just read past the Great Commission, the imperative command given twice by Christ to the disciples to go into all the world to make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). Perhaps I just thought it was the pastor’s job or a committee’s job or that’s what our mission committee was there for, but I was so wrong. I was a pew potato and only interested in getting into our “holy huddles.” I realized that we are all ministers of God, called to seek the lost and enter into the harvest. No wonder Jesus told us to pray to the Lord of the Harvest so that He’d send forth more laborers–the harvest is so great, yet the laborers are so few (Matthew 9:38). What I found out was that the church would never grow unless it was willing to go. What I used to regret I now use as motivation to go into all the world, even if it’s right next door.
Paul must have written a very strong (angry?) letter to the church, which is what he mentioned in 2 Corinthians 7:8. Maybe that’s why, in God’s sovereignty, it was lost. Either the early church lost this “strong letter” or it may have been destroyed intentionally by those who received it. Or it might have been God’s plan all along that it not be canonized as part of the New Testament and saw to it that it was lost. Whatever the case, Paul regretted part of it, but part of him didn’t regret it because it grieved the Corinthians for a time and possibly motivated them to repent of whatever they were doing at the time that caused Paul to write the letter. Paul used that regret and turned it into something good: 2 Corinthians! Have you ever done that?
There was a time when God regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel (1 Samuel 15:35). But God knew, of course, that Saul was going to fail, so early on behind the unseen eyes of mankind, He was preparing a man after His own heart: King David (Acts 13:22). Of course, God knew that David would commit murder by conspiracy (of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah) and adultery, but He also knew that David would repent, confess, and ask for forgiveness. God knew that David would use His own regrets to rule Israel in righteousness. Nothing is a loss if we can turn it into something good.
A Closing Prayer
Great heavenly Father, I have so many regrets, but I know that You forgive our every sin, and I need to thank You for Your mercy and patience with me for the many times I have made decisions that I’ve regretted. I am thankful that I can never out-sin the cross, and in Jesus’ glorious name I pray.
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