Paul obviously cared deeply about the Corinthians based on these scriptures. So much that he sent them a letter that hurt them but he didn’t regret it because they were brought to Godly sorrow that produced repentance. Repentance leads to proven innocence that only God’s merciful forgiveness can bring. Godly sorrow brought an earnestness, eagerness, concern, longing and readiness to clear themselves of wrong and see right done in their life. This takes humility and a teachable person willing to admit they are wrong.
Have you ever had a concerned “Paul” in your life who you know loves you and was real in speaking truth to you because maybe you were blinded by your situation or sin (possibly because you are so close to it or are ignorant because you have never been taught differently?) Remember that people in your life that share hard truths with you are risking their relationship with you. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they are not judging you, but humbly trying to help because they care and want you to succeed in your situation. Even if you prayerfully consider what they said and find it to not be true of your situation, value that friend who is not a yes man, and has your best interest at heart.
“Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!” -2 Corinthians 6:11-13 NLT
“Please open your hearts to us. We have not done wrong to anyone, nor led anyone astray, nor taken advantage of anyone. I’m not saying this to condemn you. I said before that you are in our hearts, and we live or die together with you. I have the highest confidence in you, and I take great pride in you. You have greatly encouraged me and made me happy despite all our troubles.” -2 Corinthians 7:2-4 NLT
“Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. So even though I wrote to you, it was neither on account of the one who did the wrong nor on account of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. By all this we are encouraged.” -2 Corinthians 7:8-13 NIV