2 Corinthians 7:5-12 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
5 In fact, when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest. Instead, we were afflicted in every way: struggles on the outside, fears inside. 6 But God, who comforts the humble, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort he received from you. He announced to us your deep longing, your sorrow, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more. 8 For although I grieved you with my letter, I do not regret it—even though I did regret it since I saw that the letter grieved you, though only for a little while. 9 Now I am rejoicing, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance. For you were grieved as God willed, so that you didn’t experience any loss from us. 10 For godly grief produces a repentance not to be regretted and leading to salvation, but worldly grief produces death. 11 For consider how much diligence this very thing—this grieving as God wills—has produced in you: what a desire to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what deep longing, what zeal, what justice! In every way you have commended yourselves to be pure in this matter. 12 So even though I wrote to you, it was not because of the one who did wrong, or because of the one who was wronged, but in order that your diligence for us might be made plain to you in the sight of God.
There are two kinds of sorrow we can experience. Worldly sorrow and Godly sorrow.
Worldly sorrow is accompanied by regret. It is very similar to the word we translate repent. It means a change of one’s mind to wish that what had been done could be undone. But it is not accompanied by an effective change of heart even though there may be great remorse. It is what we may refer to as being sorry that something has happened. It is to regret being caught or to regret that someone was hurt but having no desire to do anything differently next time.
Paul says that his joy was not because they were sorrowful, for if that were the end of things it would end in death. His joy was because their sorrow led them to repentance. It was the sorrow as God intended it. It brought repentance and salvation without regret. This is a change of mind that is accompanied not only by a desire to undo what has been done, but also by a change of heart. It is to turn from sin toward God, from evil to good, from good to best.
When we express godly sorrow then we will see other great results in our lives. These are the fruit of godly sorrow:
1. Earnestness – diligence to do right
2. Eagerness to clear yourselves – desire to show what is right
3. Indignation – desire to avoid what is evil and call it such
4. Alarm – healthy fear of God
5. Longing – love for the things and people of God
6. Concern – zeal, desiring to have in your life that which is excellent
7. Readiness to see justice done – desire to see God’s justice
Have you stopped short of Godly sorrow? Do you see the fruit of godly sorrow in your life, or is your grief done without repentance?