When it comes to disciplining my boys, they have very opposite and extreme responses.
My moper is over the top with sorrowful expression. 'Mommy, I'm the worst boy in the whole world.' 'I should sit in time out forever.' 'I can't do anything right.' He is genuinely quite sorrowful over his sin and foolish behavior. It takes a lot of hugs and reassurance after discipline for him to move on.
On the other hand, his brother likes to deflect sin, ignoring it by pressing on to the next important thing (in his mind). He rarely admits failure or expresses sorrow for mistakes on his part, unless prompted. He is more often angry at getting caught and wants to get discipline over with as fast as possible so he can move on.
Most of us fall in one of these two camps when it comes to our feelings about our sin toward God. But being extreme in either direction is not useful in growing spiritually into a mature believer. It seems both of these defense mechanisms are wrong. Any time our focus is on ourselves, our eyes are not on Jesus our Lord.
So, what is a proper response to sin?
2 Corinthians 7:10, NLT
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.
Godly Sorrow vs. Worldly Sorrow
Godly sorrow leads us away from sin.
Godly sorrow results in salvation.
Worldly sorrow lacks repentance.
Worldly sorrow results in spiritual death.
Before becoming a believer, there were many times I experienced worldly sorrow for my sin. I genuinely felt bad for making wrong choices. Yet, in my sorrow I did not repent (turn away) from my sin. Ignoring that step of repentance led me into a place of complacency. I took an attitude of 'If God loves me, He'll forgive me even if I sin again, so why try?'. The weight of my sin was constant and left me aching and depressed.
Yet, when my focus shifted from myself to God and I saw how dark and evil my sin really was compared to God's greatness and perfection, it produced Godly sorrow. This sorrow led me away from sin and resulted in my salvation!
Now as a believer, I am covered in Christ's righteousness. When God looks at me, he doesn't look on me with anger. He looks at me as a parent looks on their child with love. Just like I do not desire for my children to have a wrong understanding of their sin, God desires us to have a proper perspective of our sin because it is the best thing for us.
The wonderful thing about Godly sorrow is that it lasts for only a moment. As the sorrow gives way to a deep understanding of the sacrifice Jesus made for us, we cannot help but feel overcome with joy. This joy fuels us on in our walk of faith.
Dear reader in the Round, do you identify with either one of my sons when it comes to dealing with your sin? Have you struggled to find joy in your faith? It seems the way we view our sin is deeply intertwined with how much joy we find in our relationship with Christ.
Heavenly Father, please produce in us a godly sorrow for our sin. Let your kindness, though we deserve it not, lead us to repentance. May we again experience your love in a way that is completely satisfying and joy producing.