In The Godly Man's Picture, Thomas Watson writes, "Divine sorrow as excellent; there is as much difference between the sorrow of a godly man and a wicked, as between the water of a spring which, as clear and sweet, and the water of the sea which is salt and brackish" (p. 27).
Watson says godly sorrows has three qualifications. It is:
- INTERNAL: "it is a sorrow of soul; hypocrites disfigure their faces...Godly sorrow goes deep..."
- INGENUOUS: "it is more for the evil that is in sin, than the evil which follows after; it is more for the spot than the sting: hypocrites weep for sin only as it brings affliction."
- INFLUENTIAL: it "makes the heart better..."
Watson asks, "How far are they from being godly, who scarce ever shed a tear for sin; if they lose a near relation, they weep, but though they are in danger of losing God and their souls, they weep not. How few know what it is to be in an agony for sin, or what a broken heart means" (p. 27).
I read this and several questions come to mind. First, I look at my own heart. Is godly sorrow a mark of my relationship with Christ? Am I truly broken of my own sin? Does it ever cause me to weep, or do I simply mourn the consequences of my sin? Have I learned all of the appropriate ways to talk about sin; ways that make sin seem small? If so, I must repent.
Second, I turn to our worship ministry. Are we a ministry that weeps over our corporate sin? Has it grown easy to sing songs of repentance without tears? Has it become normal to read passages of confession without a broken heart? In our worship gatherings, are we uncomfortable with weightiness? If so, we must repent.
But, always, we repent in hope because the gospel is true.