What is repentance?

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death (2 Cor. 7:10 KJV).

What is repentance images showing a man that is sad

What is repentance, as defined by today’s scripture? Is saying “I am sorry” the same as repentance? While repentance is often expressed by a verbal apology, true repentance can not be assumed by the words “I’m sorry”.

Godly sorrow means that we sincerely feel sorrow for the wrongs we have committed against God, and each other. The Bible describes this as a “contrite heart”, and is a sacrifice desired by God (Psa 51:17). By contrast, worldly sorrow is sadness that comes from the adverse events in the  general affairs of life, such as loosing a business, relationship break-ups, etc. Godly sorrow is accompanied by a heart full of grief caused by our failure to follow the Word of God. A grieving heart leads to repentance.

Repentance, however, is more than feeling grief for falling short of God’s expectations. Repentance is a change of direction in the steps you take as God’s Word renews your mind, and sheds light on your ways. Repentance is a change in behavior, actions or attitudes as a result of God’s Word revealing your errors.

Due to overuse and abuse, the phrase “I am sorry” has lost it’s significance and meaning for many people. “I am sorry” is spoken in vain when the reality is disconnected from the purposeful meaning of an apology. An apology followed by a repeat offense is not only useless, it may  lead to deeper hurt. Repentance is a change of both mind and behavior, in response to God’s Word.


Can you articulate the difference between repentance and Godly sorrow? What is the difference between Godly sorrow and worldly sorrow?


Do you need to show a loved one, or even the Lord, that you have truly repented? Repentance is not shown by feeling sorrow; it is shown by behaving differently.


Ask the Lord to help you understand, and properly show, Godly sorrow and repentance in your life.

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Marilyn Taplin
2 years ago

I have been reading posts regarding this topic and this post is one of the most interesting and informative one I have read. Thank you for this!
“For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:32). Notice the good news; God will have mercy on all people. Mercy is compassion, pity, forgiveness, sympathy and kindness.
You may also check my blog about Repent
Hope this will also help. Thank you.