Godly Grief

Sin should appall us and produce godly grief leading to repentance.

As I read II Corinthians 7 the other night, the term “godly grief,” really caught me off guard. I find myself grieving, often, over things like my working conditions, failures I’ve experienced, the disappearance of my cat, my own state of mind . . . but my grief can hardly be categorized at “godly.” See what Paul says.

8 For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it – though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while.
9 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.
10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
II Corinthians 7:8-10 (ESV)

I sat still and thought about it for a while. Do I feel grief when I’ve said or done something that might mislead another? Do I grieve when I sin? Do I feel sorrow when I let Jesus down, when I displease Him?

Sin should appall us and produce godly grief leading to repentance. Worldly grief results from loss of earthly possessions or disappointments unrelated to God or His Son. We need to learn to throw off worldly sorrows; we are not of this world. The things that the world finds important we should regard as unnecessary, trivial, futile. If events unrelated to God produce grief in us, we should be wary, as Paul warns us that worldly grief produces death.

What grieves you?

3 thoughts on “Godly Grief”

  1. Good thoughts but I wonder is mourning/grieving for the loss of a loved one Godly or worldly. I mean I know they are in Heaven and I grieve for myself.

  2. I believe that grief over the loss of a loved one is godly. Jesus wept at Lazarus’s death. Death is an enemy that God has (Hebrews 2) and will finally (1 Corinthians 15) defeat. Jesus said that His soul was sorrowful as He approached death. There was a mourning period for Aaron and one for Moses. In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul writes so that we do not mourn as those without hope. But we are never told not to mourn over the loss of loved ones. In my view, one who does not mourn the loss of another did not love the other. Jesus told his disciples in John 14-16 that they would mourn because He was gone, but then their sorrow would be turned to joy. He did not tell them that it would be a sin for them to mourn. In fact, God Himself grieves when we separate ourselves from Him, and thus we are told not to grieve Him. So when we are separated from others, grief is the godly response.

    Yet, I think there can be a grief that is unhealthy. Healthy grieve holds on to the hand of God through the grief.

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