“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10
There is a big difference between Godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. Worldly sorrow produces guilt. It tells us we are a failure, that we will never be anything more than what we already are. Worldly sorrow makes us want to give up, to stop trying to be anything more than what we are. Worldly sorrow produces a generation of depressed, hopeless victims.
Godly sorrow produces repentance, a desire to turn it around. Godly sorrow shows us who we are contrasted with who we can be. It produces a desire to live up to the potential our Lord already sees in us.
How do we know which one we are feeling? Take a look at the next verse in 2 Corinthians 7:
“…you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”
No condemnation, no guilt or shame. If you’re feeling those emotions, it’s worldly sorrow. Godly sorrow is clean, refreshing, cleansing. Sure theres regret, but a regret that paves the way to a new start, an exciting opportunity to make it right.
Worldly sorrow makes us want to punish ourselves, to make ourselves pay for what we’ve done in the past. Godly sorrow recognizes the one who’s already paid for what we’ve done, and gives us a passion to live up to His love in the future.