Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2Cr 7:9-10 KJV)I saw an application of these verses several years ago that was a help to me. The primary interpretation of these verses is pertaining to salvation, but the application I'd like to make is in how we respond to sin in our daily lives. How many times have you had to go to God for forgiveness for the same sin? Did you feel frustrated and hopeless? Or did you find peace with God? Were you freed from the guilt of that particular sin? The difference in your reactions may be the difference between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow.
Let's look at worldly sorrow. Worldly sorrow says, "I must be worthless. I can't win over this sin. How can God really love me?" It thrives on self-pity, which is simply a twisted sense of pride. Do you see where the focus is? On yourself! I . . . me . . . self. Worldly sorrow looks inward, making excuses for sin, focusing on the struggle of fighting against sin. Satan will tell you that you are a failure. He'll say that it's a struggle to serve God, and you can't do it. This isn't godly sorrow; this is the sorrow of the world, trying to depend on your own works to be acceptable to God, and it's a lie from Satan.
Godly sorrow turns away from self and looks to God! Godly sorrow will show you the Truth: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9)." Godly sorrow says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 8:1)." Did you see that? Instead of struggling against that sin, godly sorrow allows us to confess it and forsake it! It allows us to submit to God and walk in the Spirit. A friend of mine said it so well: "We don't have to struggle against sin - we can surrender to the Holy Spirit!" What an encouragement!
Is there some sin you're struggling with today? Have you failed yet again? The next time you're tempted to turn your thoughts inward and feel sorry for yourself that you just can't seem to win over that sin, remember that godly sorrow looks to God for forgiveness, then allows you to get up again and walk on in the Spirit. Don't let Satan tell you that you're worthless. Don't accept his invitation to a pity party. Have godly sorrow: admit to God that you have sinned, agree with Him about it, then ask Him to forgive you. He promised that He would! Then get up with the assurance of "no condemnation," joyfully "forgetting those things which are behind . . . press[ing] toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13,14).