“For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin”
2 Corinthians 7:10
“I am a man of constant sorrow I’ve seen trouble all my day. . .For six long years I’ve been in trouble, No pleasures here on earth I found. For in this world I’m bound to ramble I have no friends to help me now.” I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow – Soggy Bottom Boys
This sad, sorrowful song paints a desperate, hopeless picture of poor decisions leading to sorrow. Usually, when we read or hear of sorrow, this is the picture we see: hopeless, sad, lamenting, regret. However, God has provided a far better definition. Godly sorrow offers repentance and renewal—forgiveness!
How typical of God, the lover of our souls, to wash away the hopelessness of sorrow as we know it, and replace it with hope-filled repentance—the forgiveness of sins. Those who willingly follow Christ understand repentance and forgiveness. Not only do we understand— we relish the thought of God’s unlimited forgiveness. Interestingly, non believers, those who reject Christ, still understand the power of forgiveness as opposite of the power of sorrowful regret or hopelessness. All humans know that forgiveness, whether given or received, brings welcome relief mixed with hope. And why not— forgiveness was invented by God and shown to the world through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
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.”
“You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering.
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant
heart, O God.”
“This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is My throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build Me a temple as good as that? Could you build Me such a resting place?
My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are Mine. I, the Lord, have spoken! “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word.”
“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
16 “No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear Him,
on those whose hope is in His unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.
20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield.
21 In Him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in His holy name.
22 May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in You.”
“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
When confronted by punishment, a child is sorrowful (perhaps because they’ve been discovered rather than for their behavior). If they’ve learned a lesson, their life will be more peaceful afterwards. If not, the cycle will be repeated. The same is true in our relationship with God. If we learn the lesson and repent, our sorrow will be short-lived and transformed into righteousness.