Godly sorrow brings repentance…and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Cor. 7:10
There are three responses we can make in dealing with past mistakes: regret, remorse, or repentance. Although similar, they produce completely different results. Consider this illustration: A man has struggled with pornography addiction for years. After every indulgence, he berates himself for his weakness. He calls himself every name he can think of and sets his heart to self-loathing mode in an effort to show God he is sorry. That is remorse. The next time he gives in, he remembers the stricken look on his wife's face when she found the pornographic material on his phone and computer. His stomach fills with acid and he shuts his eyes to try to blot out the memory. If only he hadn't done it...but it's too late now. That is regret.
One night as he prepares to click on the link that will pull him back into his private nightmare, he has a vision of Jesus gazing back at him from the screen. His eyes are filled with compassion, but His white robe is stained and bloody, smeared with filth. In his arms he carries the photos and movies the man has been watching. "I paid for this with my life," Jesus says. “Go and sin no more." The vision is gone as quickly as it came and now all the man sees is the triple-X link on his computer screen. In fury, he slams the lid and quickly dials a Christian friend to ask for help. No matter what it costs him, from now on he will do whatever it takes to forsake this evil. How could He put more of this filth on the Son of God? That is repentance.
Two men betrayed Jesus on the night he was crucified. Judas felt remorse and his life ended. Peter repented and his life was transformed. Repentance is the doorway into God’s presence and into the victory waiting for you.