Open your hearts to us. We haven’t wronged anyone, or led anyone astray, or exploited them.
I’m not saying this to criticize you. As I said before, you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. I have been perfectly frank with you. And I take great pride in you, because you have greatly encouraged me and given me great joy, despite all our troubles.
For when we entered Macedonia, there was no rest for us because we harassed on every side – conflicts on the outside and fears within. Yet God, who encourages those who are downcast, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus. Not only did his presence give us great joy, but so did the news he brought of the encouragement that you had given him. And he also told us how much you longed to see me, how sorry you are for what happened, and how concerned for me you were. So I was filled with joy!
Even if I caused you sorrow with my letter, I don’t regret writing it – though I did at first, because I knew it hurt you. But now I’m glad I sent it, not because it caused you distress, but because that distress made you think about what you’d done and then decide to change your ways. This was the sort of sorrow that God’s people need to experience, and it doesn’t do them any harm. For the kind of sorrow God wants us to have leads us away from sin and results in salvation. That kind of sorrow leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow leads ultimately to death.
Just look at what this godly sorrow has produced in you! Such earnestness, such eagerness to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing, such concern, and such readiness to see justice done. You’ve demonstrated that you’re anxious to put everything right in this matter. So, when I wrote to you, it wasn’t about who did the wrong or who suffered the injury, it was so that before God you could see for yourselves how loyal you are to us. And we are greatly encouraged by this.
In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus following the welcome that you gave him. He was greatly refreshed. I had told him how proud I was of you—and you didn’t disappoint me. I have always told you the truth, and now my boasting to Titus has also proved true! Now he cares for you more than ever when he remembers the way you followed all his directions and treated him with respect.
I’m so glad that I can have such confidence in you.