v1-11 - People pleasers do not make good authority figures, because the urge to make people like them overpowers their ability to implement discipline when necessary. Although we're currently reading Second Corinthians, it should really be referred to as the third letter, because the letter Paul mentions in v8 comes in between the two that we have in the Bible. It's in this missing middle letter that Paul took the Corinthians to task and demanded their repentance. This, of course, saddened them, and in a sense threatened Paul's entire ministry in Corinth, because they could have easily disassociated themselves from Paul.
But by God's grace they didn't, and Paul was happy to cause them sorrow, because their sorrow led to genuine "repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret (v10)." Chances are that you are in some sort of authoritative role as a parent, teacher, or maybe as an elder in the church. The time will come when you must choose between being popular or bringing Godly discipline. When that time comes, remember 2 Cor. 7.
v12-16 - Guilt can be a terribly debilitating thing, which has the capability of crushing people who can't find recovery from it. Yet it can also be a very healthy process, as v11-12 demonstrate. Paul calls guilt 'Godly sorrow.' We try to experience this emotion as a congregation each week as we're called to confess our sins in our morning worship, but as we remind ourselves often, we don't dwell in our guilt to condemn us or make us feel bad, rather it's because healthy guilt brings healing through the forgiveness that comes through Jesus Christ.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE: One of the most famous uncomfortable confrontations in the Bible occurred when the prophet Nathan called out King David's hideous sin with Bathsheba. As you read this story in 2 Samuel 12:1-31, notice these things:
How quickly David repents after being confronted;
How David realizes who he sinned against;
How quickly Nathan tells David the Lord has forgiven his sins;
That even though David repented and the Lord forgave, the consequences of David's sin didn't go away;
That the consequences of David's sin affected an innocent child, who paid with his life;
How God provided restoration for David and Bathsheba.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Bible: Titus told Paul something about the Corinthians, and his news brought joy to Paul. What was it? (See verses 6–7.)
What are “these promises” which Paul refers to in verse 1?
What would you say is the primary lesson of this chapter?
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Your Father, who intends for you to become sorrowful as a result of your sin, because Godly sorrow brings repentance which leads to salvation (v9-10)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that the guilt and regret you carry will bring you to repentance as it did the Corinthians.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: