For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to
salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2
There is a difference between worldly sorrow and
godly sorrow, though both are deeply felt. You can feel genuine sorrow over
something you have done. Your mind can become consumed with your failure and
offense against God and others. Judas felt this kind of sorrow. He betrayed the
Son of God for thirty pieces of silver, the standard price of a slave. Yet his
sorrow did not lead him to repent and to seek restoration with his fellow
disciples, but rather to a lonely field where, in his anguish, he took his own
life (Matt. 27:3–5). Judas carried his sorrow to his grave.
How different Peter’s sorrow was! Peter, too,
failed Jesus on the night of His crucifixion. Peter also went out and wept
bitterly (Luke 22:62). Yet Peter returned to Jesus and reaffirmed his love for
Him (John 21:15–17). Peter was not only remorseful, he was also repentant.
Peter’s life changed. There is no record of Peter ever denying his Lord again,
even when he was persecuted and threatened with death. Peter repented, turned
his life around, and never committed that sin again.
Don’t allow mere unhappiness over what you have
done to rob you of genuine repentance. You can blame yourself and be angry with
yourself for the sins you have committed, but that is not repentance. Allow the
Holy Spirit to reveal to you the gravity of your sins. Ask the Spirit to
clearly show you how God views your character. When you see your sin from God’s
perspective, you will experience godly sorrow.