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Dear COA Family, 

We all experience (or should experience) feelings of sorrow and regret when we wrong others or sin against God.  

Such feelings indicate the depth of our distress over our wicked actions and ensure that we have less chance of repeating them. 

Yet the bible seems to indicate that there is a difference in our feelings of sorrow: one is earthly and the other is godly. This is what the Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthian church: “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10 

From here we learn that not only is there a difference in the manner of feeling sorry, there is also a marked dichotomy in the destinies that follow such emotions. Godly sorrow leads to life and worldly sorrow leads to death! 

How do we know if we are having the right kind of sorrow? For me, the best way to differentiate between worldly and godly sorrow is our response from our sorrow

If you feel that your sins are so great that nobody, not even God, can forgive and you are so ashamed to face him again, you have worldly sorrow. This will lead you away from God to the path of death. And this was exactly the type of regret that Judas Iscariot possessed. He felt extremely remorseful for what he had done; yet instead of repenting of his sins, he went and killed himself. 

On the other hand, if you feel so sorry for your sin that you run to God for mercy, forgiveness and healing, then you have godly sorrow. You know that only the Lord can restore you and you will find relief from no other source. This will lead to God’s restoration of you and life. The prodigal son did exactly that and returned to his father. Instead of punishment and rejection, he found his father so merciful that he was restored to his place as a son. 

It is so important to feel sorry for our sins so that we can change our actions and behaviour, and to have the right kind of sorrow so that the sorrow can lead us to life. Let’s pray to the Holy Spirit for grace to be filled with the right kind of sorrow and strength to repent of our sins. It is only in returning to the Father that we can find true health, restoration and peace.

May God bless us with the right emotions and responses for this week! 

Revd Ian