Remorse VS Repentance – the difference REALLY matters…REALLY

I’m taking a rest-break (sabbatical) – so this is pre-scheduled
post for your encouragement! 

In almost 20 years of Pastoral teaching and counseling, I’ve come to see the difference between remorse and repentance very clearly.  But sadly, many people don’t see the difference – ever.

Do you know the difference?

Remorse is bad feelings, regret, even depression because of something you’ve done or allowed.  It’s a nagging, gnawing feeling of personal “darkness” you can’t shake.  And it can haunt you for years, decades… a lifetime.  Remorse is the feeling you have because of guilt – REAL guilt – for an action or inaction that you KNOW was wrong.

But remorse is supposed to lead somewhere… somewhere important, somewhere vital!  I can’t recall where I read it, but I remember Martin Luther saying (paraphrased here) that guilt’s purpose is to lead us to repentance, to the cross; and that once it has served that purpose, we should be rid of it.  THAT is what we need to make sure we understand… remorse/guilt are intended by God to lead us to repentance.  What is repentance?

Repentance is coming to a place of sorrow over your wrong/sin – to the point that you are broken, contrite, and ready to change.  It’s not enough to feel sorry only… many people do that but never change the attitude, thinking, or actions that caused the action they are sorry about.  Repentance is humbling yourself, confessing your wrong, turning to Christ for forgiveness, and trusting in Him alone to help you make a change in your thinking and direction.

Mark Driscoll makes the point very strongly by comparing Judas with Peter.  It’s short, well worth watching…


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