:8 “For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it, though I did regret it –” (II Corinthians 7:8)
One thing many people fail to apprehend about Christianity today is that it is not all about making people “feel good.” Paul says in this verse that he caused the Corinthians “sorrow” by what he wrote to them. But although he “regretted” that in the sense that he was sorry he had to make them sorrowful, he did NOT regret that he did it. The difficult thing HAD to be said, if they were to make a change that was needed in their lives and in their church. And the next verse, (:9) tells us that it “worked” — they were indeed “made sorrowful to the point of repentance”. So Paul’s difficult rebuke was successful, and the people of the church at Corinth repented.
This is a good lesson for us today. There are times when what God wants us to tell people — our family members, church members, work associates, and others — is not merely what will make them “feel good”, but what they really need to hear. Like Paul, sometimes we have to tell them difficult things; things we “regret” having to tell them — but also like him, if we really love these people, we will share with them what are sometimes very painful things, because they need to hear the truth. If we do not tell them that truth, they will not have an opportunity like the Corinthians did, to repent.
So true love doesn’t just tell people what is easy, or what they want to hear. It “speaks the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) for their own good, and for God’s ultimate purpose in their lives.