Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Cor 7:10 NIV
Sorrow, remorse, regret is always a component of repentance but repentance is not necessarily a component of sorrow, remorse or regret. Is the sorrow your feeling leading you to repentance. If so, God is in it. If not, then the voice of sorrow is coming from the flesh, the world, the devil – and is only producing death. It is a sorrow that is not focused on sin and how it separates us from God but on the consequences that we’d like to avoid impacting us.
But if you see this, you can pray to God to help you renew your mind. Doing this, you are already moving from worldly sorrow that is powerless and a waste of time to repentance because you are turning to God. Repentance means to turn again to your right mind – the mind of Christ – to God. This movement – this turning – is a movement forward again, rather than back. St. Paul tells the Philippians, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:12-14
This turning toward the forward focus on God is what transforms your life – renewing your mind to that of God’s. If you can see that your sorrow is not God’s, you can choose to turn from that self-oriented sorrow to God and ask for him to show you his sorrow, rather than your own. This choice elevates us back to the seat of Christ – taking our sorrow from the selfish sorrow of our action’s impact on us to the Godly sorrow of how sin and separation from God ravishes God’s children and does nothing to showcase God’s glory. From this vantage point, your sorrow is now transformed to bring true repentance mingled with Godly sorrow and the motivation that is able to overcome evil – not by focusing on evil – but by focusing on and moving toward God. Father, please help us to distinguish the hurt pride, worry, and vanity of self-oriented sorrow and to choose to turn away from this dead-end to get back onto the course with you as our guide and very life which is always your will for us and always in our best interest and always a real demonstration of your glory. Thank you, Father, for always being there when we turn away from sin to look into your beautiful eyes full of grace and mercy.
With your mind renewed to God’s perspective, your life is transformed. Then you are able to see clearly and understand God’s good, pleasing and perfect will and have the power to walk in it.
For godly grief and the pain God is permitted to direct, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil, and it never brings regret; but worldly grief (the hopeless sorrow that is characteristic of the pagan world) is deadly [breeding and ending in death]. 2 Cor 7:10 AMP
Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets. 2 Cor 7:10 MSG