Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. – 2 Corinthians 7:9-10
In His opening words to the seminal Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” and “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:3-4). With these words, Jesus prioritized repentance to the front line of what we need to be blessed and happy. Yes, in order to enjoy these blessings that Jesus promised, we must first recognize our poor and mournful state before our Almighty and Holy Maker. We have fallen short.
The Apostle Paul was very familiar with this state of mind. When he encountered Christ upon the road to Damascus, he was struck down not only in body but in spirit. Saul the Pharisee was a self-righteous and hateful man who lacked mercy and grace for others. He knew only the law and its enforcement. Upon his conversion and elevation to Apostle, Paul was a humble man who called himself the least of the Apostles. It is in this vein that Paul writes to the Corinthians.
Today with our many denominations and varying ideologies, we can be much like the Pharisees. We think the way were raised and taught was better. We may think that our calling is more important or that our experiences are more valid. We may be right, but is that all there is to our witness? Paul did not think so.
If we sorrow for our sins and seek repentance, the path to the Savior is clear and bright. Let us not fail to humble ourselves before the Lord, remembering that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). We live by His grace, and so does everyone else. If we remember humility, we are less likely to get in the way of our own witness.