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Which kind of sorrow are you feeling?

A switchblade and a scalpel have a lot in common. From their compact size to their razor-sharp edge, they’re surprisingly similar. But despite their similarities, it’s the differences that matter.

A switchblade is designed for destruction. Whether in self-defense or violent aggression, the person wielding this blade is focused on causing injury with no concern for the victim’s well-being.

A scalpel holds the same damaging potential. However, in the skilled hands of a surgeon its blade separates tissue with precision. The resulting wound is minimal, focused on healing a deeper problem.

While both blades can open a wound, the purpose of that wound makes all the difference.

In 2 Corinthians 7:8-16, Paul is writing to the Corinthian church. His previous letter called them out for immorality and internal conflicts. Not surprisingly, this caused considerable sorrow and sadness. But like a doctor prescribing post-op care, Paul helps the church understand there are two types of sorrow: worldly sorrow and Godly sorrow.

Worldly sorrow focuses our attention on our failures and smothers us with guilt. Like a knife wound in a street fight, it leads to death. In contrast, while Godly sorrow may hurt for a moment, it leads us to repentance and restoration. Like the surgeon’s incision, it causes temporary pain but brings eventual healing (2 Corinthians 7:10-11).

While Godly sorrow may hurt for a moment, it leads us to repentance and restoration.

Worldly sorrow comes from condemnation, and Romans 8:1 tells us there is no condemnation for those who follow Jesus. Godly sorrow moves us to confession and allows us to claim the incredible promise of 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”


  • Are you experiencing sorrow over something you’ve done? In what way?
  • If so, are you stuck in self-pity or moving toward confession and repentance? Why?
  • What is one way you can move from feeling worldly sorrow to godly sorrow? God wants to restore your relationship with Him. Why not ask Him to use your sorrow to draw you closer to Him?

If you want someone to talk and pray with you about your sorrow, visit the Care Room at your campus on Sunday, or connect with someone here.

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