I started reading this book by Heath Lambert on purity and pornography called Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace. So far, it is a very practical book that gives good helpful tips and biblical principles in the area of personal purity. Lord willing, I will do a book review on it in the future.
Chapter 2 of the book begins to discuss purity in terms of Godly Sorrow versus Worldly Sorrow. This chapter is filled with good principles on dealing with sin in general, not just sexual immorality and lust. If you’re reading this and you’re struggling with lust, pornography, or any other sin, this chapter will help you measure whether or not your sorrow is godly or worldly. If we want to have victories over our sin, then we need to begin with being honest about ourselves and the evaluation of our sorrow.
Worldly Sorrow: “The focus of worldly sorrow is the world. People experiencing worldly sorrow are distressed because they are losing (or fear losing) things the world has to offer….” It comes from a sinful heart that says, “I will have whatever I want whenever I want it. I don’t care if it’s harmful, if it hurts God or those I love. I will have whatever I want. This kind of heart sins in pursuit of its own pleasures. Worldly sorrow is obsessed with keeping these objects of selfish desire.” (p. 34).
Godly Sorrow: “Godly sorrow is pained over the break in relationship with God. It is heartbroken that God has been grieved and offended…. Of course, there is room in godly sorrow for the loss of family, hurt relationships, or other consequences…. Yet, the pain of these penalties is not what produces godly sorrow; godly sorrow is motivated by and oriented toward God…. The person full of godly sorrow has a heart that wants to please God rather than self. Godly sorrow motivates real and lasting change.” (p. 35).
THE MARKS OF GODLY SORROW
1. Godly Sorrow Is Earnest
“Godly sorrow is not short-lived…. Godly sorrow is busy battling pornography weeks, months, and years after worldly sorrow has given up the struggle. If the sorrow you experience after your struggle with pornography does not lead to real and lasting transformation, then you’ve experienced worldly sorrow and you stand in desperate need of change” (pp. 36-37).
2. Godly Sorrow Leads to an Eagerness to Clear Yourself
“Worldly sorrow leaves and is quickly replaced by a renewed interest in porn. You find yourself on the pathway to indulgence again. Godly sorrow longs to be clear of pornography and eagerly pursues ways to eradicate it.” (p. 37).
3. Godly Sorrow Leads to Indignation
“Godly sorrow produces indignation. It produces hatred… Worldly sorrow hates the consequences of sin… The hatred of worldly sorrow is the hatred of being caught. Godly sorrow hates the sin itself. Godly sorrow feels the horror of disobedience and weeps over the reality of a heart that chose transgression over faithfulness… Worldly sorrow is sad because people know about your sin. Godly sorrow is sad because God knows about your sin… Godly sorrow is sad because of a disrupted relationship with God” (p. 38).
4. Godly Sorrow Leads to Alarm
“Godly sorrow produces alarm, a healthy form of fear… The [misdirected] fear of worldly sorrow is the fear that people will find out…. Godly sorrow doesn’t fear that people will find out about your sin. Rather, you fear that God–the only person who ultimately matters–always knew…. Godly sorrow recognizes this holy intolerance of sin. It is fear mingled with an awareness of mercy—that God didn’t give us the just punishment we deserved” (p. 39).
5. Godly Sorrow Leads to Longing and Concern for Restoration
“When your tears result in your running away from people instead of toward them, your tears are worldly tears. Worldly grief ignores God instead of leaning more fully on his forgiveness and grows comfortable with broken relationships. Life-giving sorrow infuses you with zeal to restore every single relationship that has been broken. Your sorrow leasd you either deeper inside yourself or toward God and others” (p. 40).
6. Godly Sorrow Leads to a Desire for Justice
“Doing what is right and just doesn’t always make life more comfortable for you. An immediate and critical test for whether your sorrow is godly or worldly is whether you’re willing to accept the consequences of your sin. If so, there is a very good chance that your sorrow is the godly kind that saves. If you’re trying to wriggle out of consequences, there is a high probability that your sorrow is the worldly kind…” (pp. 40-41).
“A person full of godly sorrow is a person oriented toward God and has a heart and emotions that are inclined toward him. Worldly sorrow is oriented toward yourself and your love for the securities, comforts, and pleasures of the world.” (p. 42).
“You need God’s forgiving and transforming grace. You need forgiving grace for having the wrong kind of response to your sin and you need transforming grace to have the kind of broken heart that honors God. Those graces can be yours now, just for the asking.” (p. 43).