...yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
Thoughts for Today:Go out to your local prison and you will find it filled with people who have stolen, murdered, or committed other crimes -- and are sorry. But what are they sorry for? In most cases, they aren't sorry for what they've done, but rather getting caught. Their sorry is the sorry of the world. It is the difference between being sorrowful as a result of their present circumstance (or punishment), versus a sorry that comes from repentance. Praise God, that in the hearts of many inmates there is true repentance; unfortunately, for the majority of prisoners, this is not the case.
In our passage today, Paul identifies these two forms of sorrow -- worldly sorrow that can result in guilt, and godly sorrow that leads to repentance. Guilt might cause someone to try and make up for a past misdeed. But the motivation is all wrong. ItÕs to self and trying to lessen guilt, rather than repentance to the Lord. The first results in death (self-recrimination and condemnation), while the latter is the pathway to life. One looks back and is held prisoner by the past; the other is focused upon the Cross and a repentance that doesn't make room, nor provide allowances, for a return to the old ways. Godly repentance causes us to throw away the alcohol; delete that phone number from our contact list; toss out the inappropriate magazines; or terminate the premium cable television subscription. It moves us to end any activity or relationship that tempts, causes, or holds us hostage to sin.
Questions to Ponder:Godly sorrow works repentance which brings salvation and is never regretted. It doesn't result in harm to ourselves or anyone else. Have you repented of your past misdeeds, or do you just feel guilty? Which do you think God prefers? Will you seek His forgiveness and true repentance now?