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— 9 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. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 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…
2 weeks ago, I shared with you my odd birthday request.
Soon after I sent that email, I started receiving responses…and I started bracing myself.
What were they going to tell me? Was this their chance to finally tell me what’s on their mind?
I waited until my actual birthday to read the responses. And I’m happy to report that I survived.
Am I glad I did this? Absolutely. Did I learn something new about myself? Yes. Will it produce an actual change in me? I certainly hope so.
But I was also reminded that God doesn’t have to use emails to bring a change in me.
There are situations that happen in our lives that can damage our relationships, diminish our confidence and demolish what has been built up in us. Or these same situations can develop our inner man.
It all depends on our response.
I’ve experienced a few of these recently and I felt God gently saying “This is also a part of that refining process.”
Malachi 3:3 says that God “will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross.” Dross isn’t a term we use these days so here’s the definition: something that is base, trivial, or inferior; material that is removed from a mineral (such as gold) to make it better.
Did you also notice that God isn’t multi-tasking when He has us in the fire? He is sitting with us through the process. That doesn’t mean it’s going to feel good…it means it’s going to produce good in us.
“…When we encounter our own failings and sins, it is a painful experience. We see the disconnect between who God meant us to be and who we are in reality, and it is a large gap. Sad, remorseful feelings are part of godly sorrow and are the proper result of knowing our failure (as opposed to crippling guilt or anger at the truth about who we are)… However, there is a second emotional experience in this situation as well, and it is joy. Joy comes when we understand that we are not lost in our sin and failures, but that God loves us and will help us. We are not alone, condemned and hopeless. Joy replaces the remorse as we realize the big picture and follow him. We become grateful…”. *
Maybe this process involves an email. Maybe it won’t. Either way, when we submit ourselves to the refining work of God, we come out reflecting Him. ~Anu
*Excerpt from “Boundaries in Dating” written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend