Godly Sorrow vs. Worldly Sorrow

2 Corinthians 7:9-10

Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a Godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.  For Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of:  but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

 I was watching Todd Friel’s television broadcast “Wretched” this morning on NRB Network.  He had a fantastic conversation with Heath Lambert, who I am pretty sure is a Bible teacher on some level.  I am not familiar with Heath Lambert, and have just become familiar with Todd Friel within the last year.  Apparently, these two men have co-authored a book/teaching called “Finally Free”.  The book deals with a common struggle amongst men in the 21st century.  Though the book was geared toward men, I was blessed by it because it helped me to see what I have been thinking over the last seven years in my own situation.  I am so excited about acquiring this book for my own personal library until I thought I would blog about it based on the smidgen of information that was shared on the broadcast this morning.  I mean no copyright infringement on the information that I share;  I only share it because it was on national television, and it was a blessing to me, so I am sure it will bless others…

The gist of the conversation was about Godly sorrow vs. worldly sorrow.  I took some notes on the difference between the two:

1.      Godly sorrow is earnest and lasting.
2 Corinthians 7, describes Godly sorrow, which says that the
offender desires to change weeks, months and years after his sin
has been discovered. Worldly sorrow is an earnest desire to
change—-for a while.  Once the offender realizes that the
consequence is not going to be as bad as he thought, i.e., his
wife is not really going to leave, or he is not really going to lose
his job, then the earnestness goes away.  Godly sorrow is defined
by the offender’s willingness to fight it weeks and months after
being discovered.
2.      Godly sorrow leads to an eagerness to clear yourself.
Here, the offender is willing to do whatever he has to do to get
away from the sin.  That usually means telling someone about
the problem.  That way, you are slightly more limited in opport-
unities to make provision for the flesh.  If the offender is not
willing to get rid of the source of their sin (their computer
or their television), then that is not Godly sorrow.
3.      Godly sorrow leads to indignation.
Indignation is hatred over the sin.  If a person pines for the sin,
they do not have the kind of Godly sorrow that leads to true
repentance.  A person can hate the sin because of the
consequences, which is not Godly sorrow.

4.      Godly sorrow leads to alarm.
The offender is fearful because he knows that the Lord was
within His rights to kill him for his sin.  He recognizes God’s

5.      Godly sorrow leads to longing and concern for restoration.
The offender wants to have conversations about the sin to make
sure that every person involved is okay, and that whatever it takes
to heal the relationships, the offender is willing to do that.
Worldly sorrow says what’s the big deal…let’s just move on….ok,
you found out, now get over it!  Worldly sorrow is not willing
to do the hard work that it takes to make what he has done right.
Godly sorrow might mean apologizing more than once for the
offense, if that is what it takes to convince the other person that
the offender is truly repentant.  Godly sorrow desires this…
worldly sorrow does not.

6.      Godly sorrow leads to a desire for justice.
The offender actually embraces the consequence of their sin.
A person who wants to wiggle out of the consequences of their
sin does not have Godly sorrow for their sin.  They want the easy
way out, and that is not Godly sorrow.

If you are a husband who has offended your wife in this manner, or any other manner, you would do well to read and take in these six indicators of whether you have Godly sorrow for your sin.  If you are a wife who has been offended in this manner and your husband has worldly sorrow, my heart is burdened for you because I am walking out what you are living right now.  Be encouraged.  God is faithful, and if you keep the hurt before Him on the altar, He will heal you…

5 Replies to “Godly Sorrow vs. Worldly Sorrow”

    1. I’m convinced that there is no way that a person can show both worldly and Godly sorrow. Godly sorrow is repentant, remorseful, and willing to change…Godly sorrow wants to prove that it will never return to that sin and wants to make up for the pain caused by that sin. Worldly sorrow is only sorry that it got caught, and is not willing to pay any sort of price for the pain that the sin may have caused people around them. With the two different kinds of sorrow being so extremely different, I am confident that there is no way that a person can show signs of both.

      Thanks for reading and leaving your question.

      1. The someone I am referring to has gone long periods of time resisting, he appears to hate the sin, he seems remorseful, he seems to want accountability and even suggested he not go on the computer unless I’m with him, he asks what he can do to make my day better, and apologizes a lot, and expresses that it’s not my fault and that I can’t trust him and he can’t trust himself. On the other hand he seems to not to try to hide it unless I poke and prod to get the truth out of him. I am not sure if he has only admitted to me because he thought I knew (such as unsure if I saw when I opened the door and he closed the tab real quick). I am not sure if he was shaking because he realized in that moment the wrongness of his action. He says he didn’t really realize in the moment of sinning that he was until I came out. As much as he says he’ll do whatever it takes he seems to get filled with too much depression and anger to do so. He seems to come to resent me because he feels isolated by his sin. He is self admittedly full of self pity. He punishes himself by sleeping on the floor. He says he’s willing to accept the consequences but then begs for there to be no consequences. If one can’t have both worldly and godly sorrow is it possible he’s being manipulative and deceitful? Is it possible to have godly sorrow but fail in action to repent due to discouragement? I’m so confused.

  1. What you are dealing with is an unrepentant, manipulative person who is in no way sorry for his sin nor is he delivered from his sin. I have been in your shoes. My husband did the EXACT SAME THING. He would make promises and break them…he claimed to want accountability, but then he would be enraged when he actually had to be accountable…he would lie, then when caught, apologize and cry and tell me he would do ANYTHING to save the marriage, but as soon as my back was turned, he was right back at it. After years went by, he stopped trying to do things behind my back. He got to the point where he would take chances where I could catch him. The very last time I caught him, I was in bed with him, and he was watching porn on the tv in our bedroom. He thought I was asleep, but really I was lying there with my eyes mostly closed, squinting to see what he was doing. He would watch the baseball game for a few minutes, and then he would mute the tv and turn to the porn channel. He would watch a little while and then he would turn back to the baseball game, unmute the tv and watch for a while, and he did this over and over until I finally got fed up and just asked him should he be watching that. He said no and changed the channel. That was the last night we slept together. I moved into the spare bedroom upstairs and never slept in the same room with him again.

    The bottom line is that until he is repentant, you are not going to get anything better out of him. Repentance is not something that you can force on him. Repentance comes from God alone. Unless God gives him the gift of repentance, he will never be sorry for what he is doing. I hope that you are in a good church where you can get Godly counsel for what you are going through. If you do not feel like you can trust the leadership in your church, seek counsel outside of the church…but whatever you do, SEEK COUNSEL. You need someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, and someone to help you when the enemy tries to make you feel like this is your fault. HIS PROBLEM IS NOT YOUR FAULT!!!!!! You had nothing to do with why he is the way he is, and the only thing you can do going forward is pray for him. If I were you, I would not argue with him about it anymore…I would let him know that you know he is not free of the sin, and that going forward he needs to try and get help. Do not stress yourself trying to make sure that he is not doing what he says he is not doing. Put safeguards in place to protect your children (if you have any) so that they are not exposed to that filth, but there is nothing that you can do to make him want to be free from the pull of porn. He has to want that for himself.

    You are correct, however, in your assessment of him. He is struggling from depression, anger and bitterness because that is what porn does to the male brain. Porn is like a drug. The first time you take a hit of a drug, you get high; but the second time you will need more of the drug to get the same sensation. As a porn addict continues to indulge himself, he never gets the same euphoria that he once had; he has to move into deeper and darker areas of pornographic material and/or actions to satisfy his craving. When the craving cannot be satisfied, (and it cannot) he will become depressed that he is even caught up in it in the first place, then he will be angry with himself for letting himself get caught, and he becomes bitter because you are holding him to a standard that he cannot meet on his own. And the ONLY way that he is going to get free, is to confess and be accountable to someone for his actions. He is most likely NEVER going to want to do that.

    I remember once I installed some software on the computer to hold my husband accountable. There were time limits and the software emailed me every website that he used. He agreed to the software until after I installed it. When he found out that there was no way for him to access the internet at 2:00 in the morning, he went BALLISTIC. He told me that he was a grown man and he was not having anyone telling him what to do in his own house and blah blah blah. I am sure you have heard some of that same kind of talk. When he is ready to be free from porn, he will install the software himself, or else he will give up the technology itself. Until he is ready, there is nothing that you can do.

    I will be praying for you. The road ahead is a bumpy one. I hope you can save your marriage, but it will not be easy. If you are not married, then I suggest you get out of the relationship as soon as possible. It is not worth it if you are not already married to him.

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