Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
2 Corinthians 7:10
One recent afternoon I found my youngest child hiding under a barstool in our kitchen eating Fritos. When she heard my approaching footsteps, she quickly tried to stuff them all in her mouth, but they were the Giant Scoop kind, and she still had some left in her hand when I discovered her. Despite the fact that this particular child is truly the embodied form of absolute cuteness, and that I found this whole episode to be quite humorous, I knew that this issue would have to be addressed. She had already eaten two large meals and a few snacks that day, and it was the third time that she had swiped forbidden junk food out of the pantry after rejecting the healthier options of fruit or yogurt that had been offered to her. I quickly figured out that the first two times I had caught her, even though she told me she was sorry, she didn’t have the kind of sorrow that led to a change of behavior. She was sorry she got caught, hence the hiding under the barstool the third time. She was sorry but not sorry.
Much like the Fritos episode, we can easily fall into the trap of having worldly sorrow when confronted with our sin. This worldly sorrow is temporary and results in recurring sin coupled with regret, shame, guilt, hiding, and often will eventually lead to other destructive behaviors. The bible is clear that this kind of regret is not what God desires for us.
God’s kind of sorrow toward our sin will cause us to change our mind and actions. Godly sorrow produces a 180-degree change of direction. We are turning away from our sin and turning toward our loving and merciful God. When we truly repent, we are washed clean, and there is no remaining guilt, shame or need to hide. A burden has been lifted away, and we should feel lighter and easier. Acts 3:19-20a says:
Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord.
Think About: Are there any choices or behaviors about which you feel a prick in your conscience? Would you like to be set free from feelings of shame/regret/guilt?
Pray: Merciful and loving Father, I come before you now confessing __________. I turn away from this sin, and I turn toward you. Please wash me and restore my intimacy with you. I thank you for your forgiveness and for your mercies which are new every day. Thank you for setting me free from this bondage of sin.