“Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— 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. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.”
~ 2 Corinthians 7:8-11
I have been reading Finally Free by Heath Lambert. It has been really good. It is specifically written to help those in the grips of the enslaving sin of pornography but the truths in it apply to many struggles. Here are some insights about godly sorrow vs. worldly sorrow from the book.
“A sad person consumed with worldly sorrow is concerned about losing stuff—no matter how honorable or dishonorable that stuff is… This kind of worldly sorrow leads to death. It is lethal because it flows from the same kind of heart that wanted [the pornography, heroin, food] in the first place” (34).
“Godly sorrow happens when you are gripped by your sinful separation from God and desire to be restored to him at any cost” (42).
Lambert gives six marks of godly sorrow.
1) Godly Sorrow Is Earnest
2) Godly Sorrow Leads to Eagerness to Clear Yourself
“Enslaving sin is only defeated by drastic measures to cut it off from all angles” (37).
3) Godly Sorrow Leads to Indignation
Godly sorrow realizes the sin is against God (see Psalm 51:4)
4) Godly Sorrow Leads to Alarm
“Godly sorrow doesn’t fear that people will find out about your sin. Rather, you fear that God—the only person who ultimately matters—always knew” (39).
5) Godly Sorrow Leads to Longing and Concern for Restoration
“Worldly grief ignores God instead of leaning more fully on his forgiveness and grows more comfortable with broken relationships. Life-giving sorrow infuses you with zeal to restore every single relationship that has been broken. Your sorrow leads you either deeper inside yourself or toward God and others” (40).
6) Godly Sorrow Leads to a Desire for Justice