Yesterday one of the biggest Ponzi Scheme swindlers of all time, Bernard Madoff, pleaded guilty in New York City to all of the charges against him. It has been reported that he stole about 50 billion dollars. When he entered his plea he was allowed to address the court. He expressed his "sorrow." Today, In light of this expression of sorrow I'm quoting something I read in one of my books yesterday.
Comments on on Second Corinthians 7:5-16. Author William Barclay writes:
"It draws one of the most important distinctions in life. It draws the distinction between the "godly" and the "worldly" sorrow.
(i) A godly sorrow produces a true repentance, and a true repentance is a repentance which demonstrates its sorrow by its deeds. The Corinthians proved their repentance by doing everything they could to mend the wretched situation that their thoughtless conduct had produced. Now they hated the sin they had committed, and they even hated themselves for committing it, and they laboured to atone for it.
(ii) A worldly sorrow has two characteristics.
(a) It is not really sorrow at all, in one sense; it is only resentment. It is resentment at punishment and resentment at the fact that it did not get away with its sin.
(b) It is not really sorrow for its sin or for the hurt and sorrow it may have caused others; it is in the end really sorrow that it has been found out. If it got the chance to do the same thing again, and if it thought that it could escape the consequences, it certainly would do it. It does not at all hate the sin; it only regrets the fact that its sin got it into trouble.
A true repentance, a godly sorrow, is a repentance and a sorrow which has come to see the wrongness of the thing it did. It is not just the consequences of the thing which it regrets; it hates the thing itself.
We must be very careful to be sure that our sorrow for sin is not merely sorrow that we have been found out, sorrow that we have involved ourselves in trouble, but sorrow which has come to see the utter evil of the sinful thing and which is determined never to do it again, and which has dedicated the rest of its life, to atone, by God's grace, for what it has done."(William Barclay, Letters to the Corinthians, p. 252-53)