“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV84)
The words sorrow, contrition and repentance are used in Christian circles constantly. I’m certain you have heard them and even used them; but do we know what they really mean? In our verse for today, Paul is addressing this very subject. He said there are some who have a worldly sorrow and others who have a Godly sorrow. He said Godly sorrow leads to repentance and salvation, but worldly sorrow leads to death. What is he talking about?
Today, like in Paul’s day, too many people have the impression that what God expects from us when we sin and fall away from Him is to simply feel sorrow about what we did. We have duped ourselves into believing that all God expects is an emotion of sorrow. But listen! What doesn’t work for us in our daily lives isn’t going to work well for God, either. When your spouse, child or friend does something wrong, do you simply expect from them an expression of sorrow? How often have we gotten frustrated with those we are in relationships with because all we got was an “I’m sorry!”? Like us, God looks for something more from those He loves and who love Him. God hopes that our sorrow will move us to repentance. Sorrow needs to produce a change in our lives that causes us to move away from actions that are sinful and hurting and toward actions that are righteous and rooted in love. Saying “sorry” doesn’t cut it! We need to be sorrowful and committed to change. The Greek word for repentance means “to stop and go the other direction” (to do an about-face).
This is what godly sorrow looks like because it leads to salvation. You see, you know God has to be in the center of it if it leads to an ultimate change in our physical life and the salvation of our eternal soul.
May we always focus on godly sorrow that brings us to repentance and leads us to salvation.