....let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, .....Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
I’m no stranger to sin. It’s part of my human nature. I’ve sinned overtly and covertly. I’ve lead a sinful lifestyle. I’ve suffered and still suffer the consequences of my sins to this day. There were times I thought I was getting away with my sin.
The Bible makes one thing clear, “...and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” - Numbers 32:23 (NIV)
Secret sin has a way of warping the mind and twisting one’s values grotesquely out of shape. Any sin will do this. For example, a thief rarely steals very much at first. Then, as the pilfering becomes habitual, the thief must rationalize their sin in order to maintain some sense of dignity. Meanwhile, the cycle of compulsion and shame drives a wedge between their private thoughts and a carefully crafted public image, which they eventually accept as their true selves. When caught in their sin, thieves are almost always indignant, “how dare you!” Or they misdirect, “there are the real thieves!” Convinced that no one can see the true self they once chose to ignore and had long ago forgotten. We here statements like, “I’m really a good person.”
The gaping chasm between a public persona and a private self—what may be called a double life—always begins as a tiny crack, a decision to conceal sin. Sin abhors the light of truth; it demands secrecy of the sinner.
Jesus didn’t mess around with people when it came to the truth. He said, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.“
There are two responses on our part when we are exposed. The Apostle Paul puts it this way, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” - 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NIV)
Worldly sorrow is: we are sorry, however, it’s for what we've lost or about to loose, (our freedom, a blessing, our inability to hide our evil character) we are NOT sorry for what we have done. Then once we think no one is looking again we continue to do the same thing.
Worldly minded people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly sorry for it; they’re merely sorry because they are going to be punished. Worldly minded people don’t really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one.
Godly sorrow on the other hand produces an inward earnestness, an eagerness to clear oneself, authentic indignation, genuine alarm, a real longing, earnest concern and a willing readiness to see justice done in ones own life.
Godly sorrow wants to make a change. When God reminds us about items we have taken, taxes left unpaid, or ways we have wronged others, we can honor Him by making it right.
But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” - John 3:21 (NIV)