Feeling Bad Can Be Good
No one likes to feel bad. Whether it’s guilt, shame, or sadness, we’d all rather avoid them. Society tells us there’s no reason to ever experience such things, since no individual has the right to impose their standards or morality on us. They’d like us to believe that nothing good can come from them. But that’s not entirely true.
The Corinthian church started out well but slipped back into old sinful ways. Paul wrote a lovingly harsh but honest letter that spelled out many things they were doing wrong. They obviously weren’t thrilled about. After all, no one likes to be called out on wrong thinking or bad behavior. Yet this is what the apostle wrote in his second recorded letter to this church: As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us (II Cor 7:9 ESV).
What is he saying? If I may paraphrase: I’m glad my letter made you sad, because that’s what led you to turn from your sin and back to God, which kept you from larger consequences of your wrong doing. Have you ever experienced that? A friend saw you somewhere you shouldn’t have been and spoke to you about it. You felt guilty. But it caused you to confess it to the Lord, receive His forgiveness, and go on from there with a clear conscience. And you were intentional about not going there again which protected you from becoming entangled in sin.
Maybe it wasn’t a place but rather an attitude, activity, or habit that was brought to your attention. Although we won’t enjoy it, the inescapable truth is we sometimes need to feel bad so we can get to the good.
Just something I’m trying to wrap my head around along the way.