Godly Sorrow and Worldly Sorrow are Not the Same

Christians are born into sin, but not bound by sin. Sin produces either Worldly sorrow or Godly sorrow. The two are not the same. Godly sorrow brings repentance and eternal life, worldly sorrow brings self-forgiveness and death.

~ Lisa Blair

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV

What is this scripture saying to us?

The kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin. My concern is that most try to categorize sin as a minor act or a major act, making one easier to erase than the other. Many feel sinning is defined by weight, the truth is that sin is not defined by scale but by act. The act itself defines it as sin. Whenever we focus on self and not the Lord, our sin nature is in control, and we are acting in sin that leads to death. Sin is defined as either sin of omission or commission.

Types of Sin: Sins of Omission and Commission

Sin through omission is sinning without being aware, and therefore one cannot experience remorse or shame for having committed the sin. The other type is sinning through commission, meaning we are knowingly committing the sin, and thus consciously experience shame, not because we sinned, but because we have been caught or feel guilt, this produces worldly sorrow. When we sin against God, because He is God, we feel Godly Sorrow. It is important to understand that worldly sin (sin focused on self) begets worldly sorrow because we want forgiveness for selfish reasons; when we sin against God, we want forgiveness because we know we hurt Him.

Worldly Sorrow

Because we are human, we experience a contrite self-focused sorrow, a feeling of remorse or regret affected by a sense of guilt, a worldly sorrow. For example, when, as children, we fibbed to a parent or adult, we felt guilty and wanted to be absolved to remove the guilty, shameful feeling. Worldly sorrow focuses on regret and remorse and is focused on self, leading to death; conversely, Godly sorrow leads to salvation and life.

Godly Sorrow

Godly sorrow is the acute sense of sadness we experience when we knowingly sin against God. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation. Godly sorrow results from the heartfelt conviction that we have offended God by our sin, it has nothing to do with our feelings. This sorrow is sorrow towards God because the sinful act is against His Holiness first. It is unselfish in its focus.

True Repentance

Regret involves the mind primarily, and remorse involves the emotions. But, repentance includes a change of mind, a hatred for sin, and a willingness to make things right. If the will is not touched, conviction has not gone deep enough.

Repentance is not to be taken lightly. It is not a ‘get out of jail’ card. When we repent for hurting God, we immediately become responsible for eliminating this act of sin from our being. While elimination may take time, each time we are confronted by the sin, we learn to stand fast and turn away until it is powerless over us. God looks at our intent as we grow into maturity, following His Will for our lives. There is no complete perfection in this life. He looks at our righteousness through Christ who mediates on our behalf. Like Paul wrote, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:14 NLT. We must press on, relinquish our quest for self-gratification and focus on how we live a Godly life. As we mature, our lives should become less hurtful to God because our eye is on the prize and less on self. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

Note

Earlier in my Christian walk, I prayed that God would forgive me for my sins of omission and commission, not realizing the focus of the prayer was on self. I did not understand wanting forgiveness was not an act of Godly sorrow, but one of worldly contrition. Now I pray that He helps me to remove myself from the equation and focus wholeheartedly on Him. When the focus is on Him, I remove my self-interest.

Once we define which type of sorrow we are experiencing, we can remove ourselves from being the subject. We can then acknowledge that we have sinned against God because He is our focus. It is not until we understand that it is not about us that we can suffer Godly sorrow that leads to salvation and eternal life.

Resources — gotquestions.com; purelifeministries.org; Nelson’s Quick Reference. Bible Commentary, Warren Wiersbe; Authentic Ministry “What is Real Repentance” II Corinthians 7:2-16. Pastor John Miller

Images — YouVersion/Bible.com; Google Images

Remorse, Repentance, and Godly Sorrow

Godly sorrow

Remorse, repentance and Godly sorrow, are part of the process of maturing in our Christian walk.

How many of us have sinned, and the sin changed our trajectory in life? It may have been at school, work, or in a relationship. The Bible says, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. Fortunately, we live in the New Testament dispensation, and Jesus died to free us from our sins. Does that mean, we no longer sin? No, it means we are no longer bound by our sins. We, in our humanity – can be remorseful about the event. We can repent for our sin. And, most importantly, we can have Godly sorrow about our sin.

A few days ago, I was listening to Beth Moore’s audiobook, Praying God’s Prayers, and one of the things that stood out was the distinction between remorse, repentance, and Godly sorrow.  My mind (focus) would not leave this topic, I needed to know more and continued to query, what is the difference between the three forms of admission of sin? This is what I learned.

Unpacking the distinction between remorse, repentance, and Godly sorrow

Remorse

Let us begin with remorse, which is defined as a deep and painful regret for wrongdoing. A compunction – a feeling of uneasiness or anxiety by regret for doing wrong or causing pain. Remorse is sadness that primarily focuses on us. We seek forgiveness for our sin, but little more. This type of regret is referred to as worldly sorrow. Worldly sorrow lacks repentance.

10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.11 Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.
2 Corinthians 7:10-11 NLT

When we are remorseful for a sin, which is wrongdoing, we are acting in our carnal nature. It is a human response to our wrongdoing. We acknowledge it and seek forgiveness from the person/s that were affected. The focus is our desire for them to forgive us.

Repentance

When we repent, we ask God for forgiveness for the sin or wrongdoing. True repentance offers forgiveness and places the sin in the “sea of forgetfulness’. This refers to God’s forgiveness, and how when we are justified in Christ, God forgets our sins so completely that they may as well be buried at the bottom of the sea. The crux of repentance is that we ask God to forgive us, and He does, but then we revisit the offense meaning, we have not forgiven ourselves. We failed to turn it over to God. If we believe God, we must forgive ourselves and place the offense at the bottom of the sea, or as far as the east is from the west. In short, we can no longer revisit it.

Question – do we change our course when we repent and continue to replay the sin in our minds? No. We have not given up the thought of the sin, though we may have chosen not to repeat it physically, it stills lives deep within us.

We asked for God’s mercy but did not accept it. In other words, we turned away from the sin but did not turn to God. Our repentance is incomplete. Our sin nature is still active and has not relinquished the sin. Our remorse and regret remain selfish and self-centered. We cry out for justice to relieve our own pain, but not for the pain we have caused others. Worldly sorrow produces death because Satan maintains a hold on us through our selfish cries for redemption. This sorrow falls short of Godly sorrow, in fact, it does not exist in the same universe.

Godly Sorrow

Godly sorrow is when we grieve for those we hurt when we sinned. It is defined as having grief over the sin, rather than the consequences of the sin. Godly sorrow (deep sorrow) is another element of repentance. Godly sorrow is lying prone before God crying out for His forgiveness. Godly sorrow leads to salvation and leaves no room for regret. As the scripture says, it produces earnestness, indignation, alarm, concern, and an acute sense of sadness as the result of the sin. “Godly sorrow is a kind of wretchedness that can bring the repentant sinner to tears of grief.”  (gotQuestions.org). James wrote that “Godly sorrow is the experience of lamenting, grieving, mourning and wailing,” (James 4:8-9). Godly sorrow results from a heartfelt conviction that we have offended God by our sin. When we have Godly sorrow, we resolve within our hearts that we will ‘cease to do evil’ and learn to do good with God’s help.

16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good.
Isaiah 1:16-17 ESV

One of the clearest examples of Godly sorrow can be seen in Luke 7:36-50. In summary, Godly sorrow:

*Draws us to Jesus
*Drives our faith
*Expresses itself externally
*Increases our love for Christ
*Produces assurance of forgiveness* (Five Signs of Godly Sorrow. Ryan Huguley.com)

As we mature as Christians, we move from being remorseful to of asking for repentance and moving into Godly sorrows. Our ultimate goal is to lay our sins before God and plead for his forgiveness and salvation, placing our focus away from the sin and to God. I hope this Post enlightens you, I know the study has provided a greater depth of understanding and has shown me where I have fallen short. I always questioned ‘why’ after repenting did I find myself reliving the sin over and over in my mind. The answer is clear – I did not release the worldly sorrow in exchange for Godly sorrow. The focus remained on me and not on those affected by my sin, or on offending God. I was still reliving the sin in my mind and feeling hurt by the result of the actions, failing to place the focus on others and crying out to God to help those who were hurt. Repentance does not focus on self. Remorse focuses on self. Repentance focuses on those we hurt, and Godly sorrow focuses on having offended God. Godly sorrow leads to salvation.

Godly sorrow is sorrow that is often misunderstood and therefore not executed as part of our repentance and turning away from our sin. Having read this, and pondering over replays of sin, can you now upgrade your repentance to Godly sorrow, turn away from the sin once and for all, place it in the sea of forgetfulness, and turn to God?

psalm51-12Re-Blog – https://wp.me/p98Coa-CH
Scripture – Bible.com, ESV
Images – Google Images
References – What is godly Sorrow,  gotQuestions.org; Five Signs of Godly Sorrow. Ryan Huguley.com; Vine’s Expository Dictionary; Guilt and Repentance, Dr. Nicolas Ellen, Slideshare.com (Google Images); Praying God’s Prayers, Beth Moore

Thank you for visiting my Young Christian Warriors site and dailyinspiration-lisasthoughts.com.