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Lord Christ, grant to us your servants
the blessing of learning the discipline of repentance.
And as we learn repentance,
it is also good for us to learn to avoid sin –
so we will have no need to repent.
Those who have escaped a shipwreck
generally tend to avoid ships and the sea in the future.
By keeping fresh the memory of disaster,
they honor the second chance you gave them.
They honor their deliverance,
and are not willing to tempt your mercy all over again.
We have escaped once.
Now let us allow ourselves to experience sin’s danger that far only –
and no farther!
Even if it seems that chances are good for us to escape a second time.
Tertullian, c. 155 AD – c. 220 AD, Theologian from Carthage, North Africa
I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first,
for I know it was painful to you for a little while.
Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you,
but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways.
It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have,
so you were not harmed by us in any way.
For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin
and results in salvation.
There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow.
But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.