Is it possible to know beyond a shadow of a doubt if someone is genuinely sorry and/or repentant for what they have done?  Is there a way we can know when WE are sorry and repentant for mistakes we ourselves have made?

The answer is a definitive YES.  Click here for the answer, then I’ll suggest a few comments…

From the text note there are two kinds of grief and/or sorrow (2 Cor 7:10).  There is godly grief/sorrow and worldly grief/sorrow.  They look the same to those who observe them (Tears, consternation, emotion), but the fruit of the two are totally different!  Godly grief produces repentance (Explained below) while worldly grief produces death (Death of relationships, trust, joy, etc.).

Notice also from the text that when godly grief/sorrow is genuine, the person does not later regret what they did in order to clear themselves of their transgression(s) {Vs 10b}.  The end result is peace, joy, and contentment in Christ.

Then note that godly grief/sorrow is something that comes from inside a person (Vs 11a).  It is not manufactured by the person themselves nor can it be forced upon a person by anyone or anything outside them.  In short, by definition, godly grief is a work of God.

It is written that godly grief/sorrow produces “earnestness” and “eagerness” (Vs 11b).  The goal of these emotions is for the person to “clear themselves.”  This does not mean to get off the hook or escape consequences.  No, it means that the person is highly motivated to do whatever it takes to make right what happened as a result of their actions.  A person who is genuinely sorry will take the hits that come their way in order to correct the injustice or sin they have been a part of.  Note: If a person is unwilling to “throw themselves upon the mercy of the court,” they are not sorry for their conduct.  They are probably either sorry they got caught or are trying to escape consequences.

Then in 2 Corinthians 7:11 Paul writes there is in the person a “indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment!”  This is understood that the person is horrified within themselves about themselves that they were not only capable of such evil, but that they carried it out.  As a result of this realization they held nothing back in seeking correction of their failure and the fault within themselves that led to what they did.

With what Paul wrote in mind… are we sorry for our mistakes?  The sin we’ve committed against God?  Are we willing to go to the Biblical lengths to address our faults and failures?  I don’t know about you… but this post is reminding me of how careful I must be in my words and conduct.  It also reminds me how ruthlessly I must address my faults and failures.