Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you…
2 Corinthians 7:10-11a (NIV)
For some reason in my reading of today’s text I seemed to stop here and spend some time. Even though I recently heard a sermon on repentence where this was one of the texts, I still had to look at my study Bible notes on this one. Godly sorrow vs. worldly sorrow. My study Bible says that God-centered sorrow is over the wickedness of sin, whereas self-centered sorrow is over the painful consequences of sin. How often do I forget that sin is primarily an offense against God, not so much against people? If I truly grasped the concept of my sin being an offense to God, would that be a better deterant to sin than looking at the sin as an offense against myself or other people?
I’ve heard it said that a true measure of someone’s character is what they do when no one is looking. I know that my behaviour is much more God-honoring when I keep in mind that He is with me always – He is omniscient and omnipresent. But it’s more than someone watching and ready to point out my sin. Instead it’s realizing that my sin is an offense to God, asking for forgiveness, receiving His grace, and being transformed in the process.
I thought it was interesting that in our 2 Samuel reading we get a sense that Absalom is not really sorry about what he did. By the fifth year he is even claiming that he is not guilty! Not really sure how you can forget that you killed your brother… David takes him back but he never really addresses the problem head on, so Absalom never faces his sin and never repents. I was thinking today that this is not like the prodigal son story where the son is truly sorry and admits his guilt.
Godly sorrow brings repentance and restoration. Lord, let me remember that when I’m tempted to brush my sin under the rug, make excuses, or even convince myself that it never happened!