“For godly sorrow (ἡ κατὰ θεὸν λύπη) produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly sorrow produces death. For see what earnestness/zeal (σπουδήν) this godly sorrow has produced in you…” (2 Cor 7: 10-11a)
Whatever “sorrow” I may have today, for example, because of some loss, rejection, or disappointment (either with myself or others), it can bring me growth, or death. It is a sort of “crisis” (from the Greek “κρίσις,” meaning “decision, judgment, choice”), which stops me in my tracks or at least slows me down, demanding some kind of resolution or relief. Now, I can choose to make my sorrow “godly,” by re-focusing on God (“changing my mind” or my focus in “metanoia,” repentance), letting Him into the picture and picking up the healing instruments of my faith, like prayer, forgiveness, confession, and service to others. Or I can embrace a “worldly” kind of sorrow, say, by crawling up on the couch with some Ben & Jerry’s and listening to Adele. No offence meant to Ben & Jerry’s or Adele, God bless ‘em ☺, but in the long-term the “couch-potato”-option is not the one that “leads to salvation and brings no regret.”
Today let me try and accept any “sorrow” as a gift, or a tap on the shoulder from God, Who is calling me to slow down and re-think things, in a life-giving “change of focus.” Sorrow can help me grow in faith and also in compassion for other cross-carriers, if I don’t miss the point and choose the path of self-pity, self-isolation and resentment instead. “Lord, I have cried unto You. Hear me!” I say to God today, and place my sorrows into His hands.