“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing…” (2 Cor 7: 10-11)
Christianity is neither optimistic nor pessimistic, nor is it neutral. And that is so because it is true; it is life, based on the true story of God’s free choice to die for His creation, and our free choice either to rise or fall. Hence a life in Christ is not some predictable pattern, like a philosophy. “It is not a philosophy,” as G.K. Chesterton writes, “because, being a vision, it is not a pattern but a picture.” And this picture is one of a hopeful, yet no less earnest struggle, of the Church Militant, with its joys and its sorrows.
The Apostle reminds me today of “godly grief” that produces repentance. It is quite different from the crushing despair of “worldly grief” that produces death. I need not banish “godly grief,” because it is a gift. It is a feeling of discomfort that moves me to action, to change my focus and return home. This dynamic is one that gives me life; it is one that instills in me a longing, a desire to move forward. Let me be attentive to this gift today, and embrace my desire to grow in Him.