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The Painful Letter

I knew you would be upset with my last letter, but I do not regret sending it. If there were times I did have second thoughts, it was because I could see that the letter did hurt you, even if only for a while. Now I am glad—not because it caused you grief but because you were moved to make a permanent change that can happen only with the realization that your actions have gone against God—I’m glad to know you suffered no long-term loss because of what we did. Now this type of deep sorrow, godly sorrow, is not so much about regret; but it is about producing a change of mind and behavior that ultimately leads to salvation. But the other type of sorrow, worldly sorrow, often is fleeting and only brings death. Look at what is happening among you! Notice how authentic and diligent you have become because this godly sorrow has been at work in your communityBut there’s more: your desire to clear your name, your righteous anger, your respect, your longing, your zeal, and your concern for justice. All these demonstrate how you have been made clean. So when I wrote my last difficult letter, it was not to comfort the victim or confront the perpetrator—it was to stir up your sincere devotion for us under God’s watchful eye. In the midst of all that has happened, though it has been difficult, we are comforted and encouraged. When we saw the relief and joy on Titus’s face, we celebrated even more because his spirit had been totally refreshed by you (vv. 8-13).

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