[forthright] Remorse

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From: "BA Oliver" <ba@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2003 13:46:24 -0500
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

COLUMN: Understanding the Times

by Emmett Smith

In his second letter to the Corinthians, the
Apostle Paul wrote, "For godly grief produces a
repentance that leads to salvation without regret,
whereas worldly grief produces death" (2 Cor. 7:10
ESV). The older translations used the word sorrow
rather than grief, but grief is probably closer to
the original meaning. Regardless, the passage
teaches a very important lesson about how we deal
with remorse.

The Corinthian brethren had been chastised by Paul
in his first epistle, and the above passage was
Paul's comment on their reaction to his criticism.
He was praising them for having repented and
corrected the situation, and he attributed their
positive response to "godly grief". In contrast to
the godly sort, however, Paul wrote that "worldly
grief" produces death. What a contrast! Having a
godly world view does make a tremendous difference
in one's life.

This difference can be illustrated in several
ways. The example of Judas is often cited in
discussions of this passage. He was remorseful,
but apparently not with godly remorse. So he
committed suicide. Of course, physical death is
not the ultimate consequence Paul had in mind
here. He was comparing opposite results, salvation
versus spiritual death. And if the evil one can
cause someone to despair of life itself then he
can forestall that person's repentance and

The latest U.S. statistics on suicide are
sobering. Among them please note the following:

* Persons under age 25 made up 15% of all suicide
victims in the year 2000.

* Between 1952 and 1995, the suicide rate for
adolescents and young adults nearly tripled.

* Suicide is the third leading cause of death for
young people aged 15-19 years. These suicide
deaths outnumber deaths from cancer, heart
disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, and chronic
lung disease combined!

It could easily be argued that the tripling of the
suicide rate among young people since the early
1950s correlates to the increasingly secular
nature of the government, schools and our society
in general. And this secularization is being
pushed with a vengeance these days. How many more
victims will be lost to the despair brought on by
worldly grief? Don't let yourself be one of them. 

And those who know your name put their trust in
you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who
seek you (Psalms 9:10 ESV).

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