A Good Christian’s Sorrow

What Is A Good Christian’s Sorrow?

God, under the right circumstances wants us to feel sorrow. You may question the validity of such a statement but it is true. The sorrow that He wants us to feel is not your everyday run of the mill sadness. This may sound strange being that He is an all loving God so let’s look at an example.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul wrote a letter to the Church of God of Corinth after a visit with them. His letter describes in some detail the numerous witnessed transgressions of the Church and his sorrow for them. His love for the body of Christ compelled Paul to speak up. Put differently, Paul very obediently did what Christ instructed in Matthew 18:15 that says this:

If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.

The Church in Corinth received Paul’s letter and in 2 Corinthians Paul explains in a second letter how pleased he was with the Church’s reaction and repentance in response to his first letter. In chapter 7 of 2 Corinthians Paul explains how at first he felt bad that he hurt the Church emotionally and soon after he realized that the pain he caused lead the Church to repent. He was glad that he had done it even though it was hard on himself and the Church.

Paul didn’t regret writing the letter and speaking what God had put on his heart. It was that initial sorrow that Paul felt for the Churches sin’s that caused him to write the letter in the first place and the Churches sorrow when they realized that Paul was right that lead to their repentance. That repentance lead to the Churches eventual salvation.

This is why we can say that God, under the right circumstances wants you to feel sorrow. Paul and the Church of Corinth felt sorrow for their sins. Sorrow for sin is the right circumstance. It moved both parties in a Christ like way.

This isn’t sorrow built with an earthly thing like losing money, breaking your favorite “thing”, having something stolen from you or even losing a loved one. As harsh as it sounds these things are really of no consequence to our souls. They are the things that rust and moths destroy. We should not allow them to have any bearing on our spiritual health or happiness. When we do allow these troubles to win we aren’t setting our hearts and our mind on Jesus.

God makes a very clear distinction between these two things. Look at what it says in 2 Corinthians 7:10.

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Why Do We Feel This Way?

2 Corinthians 7:10 makes it clear. God never leaves us hanging and this case is no exception to the rule. Read that verse again and remember the example described previously. Godly sorrow leads to repentance without regret and that repentance leads to salvation. God wants you to move in a Christ like way toward Him.

If you have ever said or done something that harmed yourself or another person or you witnessed someone else act in a sinful way and those actions made you hurt as if you were the one who messed up then you have experienced what this sorrow is in the same way that Paul and the Church of Corinth did.

Feeling sorrow for sin whether it is our own or someone else’s is an indicator that we are living in Christ. Take a moment and think back to that time when you did have that regret. Can you still feel the emotion that you originally felt? Does it still turn your stomach to think about it? Chances are that you do. That feeling is likely Christ working on you.

What To Do Next

If you still feel that pain then you haven’t resolved that issue with God. Reach up to Him now and ask for forgiveness for that action. Be sincere in your request and truly let go of it and allow Jesus to carry the burden.¬†Then rejoice in the grace that has been given to you. Rejoice in the guidance that God has given your through your sorrow.

Put your heart into Godly sorrow and rest in that as often as humanly possible. Let Christ work through you to bring you ever closer to Him and your salvation.