Godly Sorrow

Romanian Older Woman Praying

Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Matt. 20:34

Misuse of words can bring insensitivity to their actual meaning. For example, “I am sorry.” This phrase is used so often, in place of other, more honest words, that when we hear it, we simply shrug it off, wondering what the person really meant.

I am sorry can mean we are actually sorry or it can mean, I don’t want to talk about this any longer. I am sorry can also be the universal excuse for being late, missing appointments, ending a relationship or many other unpleasant issues. Perhaps, borne out of a desire to make everything right, we say, “I’m sorry” too often.

Sorrow, a derivative of sorry, usually connotes sadness or grief. Sorrow is reserved for death, massive injury, loss of income, career, etc. I am sorry can be a lie but feeling sorrow, which brings I am sorry, is often the best we can muster at grave and serious times.

God has sorrow too. But His sorrow brings with it repentance and new hope. God’s sorrow is a piercing light into our souls, a surgical laser beam to reconstruct our thinking and actions. God’s work in our lives is always geared toward redemption and healing—Whether He literally heals our bodies or not, His actions are never selfish.

2 Corinthians 7:8-10 I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. (NLT)

Matthew 18:7 What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. (NLT)

Romans 9:1-3 With Christ as my witness, I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it. My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!–if that would save them. (NLT)

Ephesians 4:30-31 And do not make God’s Holy Spirit sad; for the Spirit is God’s mark of ownership on you, a guarantee that the Day will come when God will set you free. Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. (GNT)

Hebrews 13:17 Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit. (NLT)

John 16:19-22 Jesus realized they wanted to ask him about it, so he said, “Are you asking yourselves what I meant? I said in a little while you won’t see me, but a little while after that you will see me again. I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. (NLT)

Revelation 21:1-4 Then I saw a new Heaven and a new earth, for the first Heaven and the first earth had disappeared and the sea was no more. I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride dressed in beauty for her husband. Then I heard a great voice from the throne crying, “See! The home of God is with men, and he will live among them. They shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death shall be no more, and never again shall there be sorrow or crying or pain. For all those former things are past and gone.” (Phillips)

The world crucified Jesus, attempting to rid themselves of their guilt. Those who did not believe experienced ultimate sorrow. Godly sorrow will cleanse and heal His followers.


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