We are told in II Cor. 7:10, "For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death." What is the difference between worldly and godly sorrow?
Godly sorrow is the grief and remorse that grows out of a realization that one has offended God. Worldly sorrow is the pain and regret over what has been afflicted on oneself and others. People feel sorrow and grieve over their past conduct. Some are very ashamed. In their sorrow, they are pained because of their sin is against God and broken fellowship with God. They go to God seeking His pardon and release finding His peace. That's the sorrow that leads to salvation! Their godly sorrow has a sincere desire to be right with God seeking release from their guilt through the blood of Jesus.
Unfortunately, many do not take this road. They don't turn to God for release and peace. They turn only in form but not in heart. When people fail by doing something sinful, in their sorrows they turn to other means to get themselves out of their difficulty. They try to rid their sorrows by finding acceptance from people and in that desire for acceptance, they pour out their failures and shortcomings. Worldly sorrow produces death spiritually.
Godly sorrow is not a mere regret that soon passes away in its effects but it produces permanent and abiding changes in ones life. It leads to a repentance that is not regretted and results in salvation. In other words, godly sorrow puts one on the road to improving without props!!
Grief, regrets and remorse that does not lead one to God will ultimately lead one away from God. It will be a matter of time. Relief from the pains of guilt come only from God. The human spirit cannot abide continuously in guilt and shame. Refuge and release is either in God or: (1) seeking the approval and acceptance of another, (2) hardening the heart toward what needs to be done, (3) becoming critical of those doing right while attempting to discredit them, (4) attempting to transfer the blame to others, or (5) showing contempt and resentment toward the one who inflicted the sorrow.