Godly Sorrow?

Having grown up around fairly negative people throughout my childhood, I’m acutely aware of my own negativity and make conscience choices not to get too carried away with that focus.

Even now, I’d had the intention of writing this post with a list of things that annoy me and couldn’t bring myself to do it. I will spare you the positive list of things that I’m grateful for that I inevitably end up writing as some repentance for considering a list of negative things.

There is a lot of negativity out there, even on Christian radio. Lately I’ve been making a concentrated effort to become more stereotypically Christian by listening to the local Christian radio station and becoming familiar with the new pop/rock Christian songs. On a break from music was a little spot with an excerpt from a preacher – I forget her name – who was telling people to ask that God give them severe sorrow and heartache to teach them lessons against sinning.

My first reaction was, “WHAT?!” In text, it would probably translate to “lolwhut?!” I did give her message some more thought, trying to find the reasoning behind it and what result we’re supposed to get that will benefit us spiritually. I have to tell you, it’s still beyond my reach. This is the same mentality that justifies spanking children. Now, I’m not going to head off into another direction about how people should raise their own children. That’s not my point. My point is that we’re supposed to want such a heart-wrenching punishment that we never want to do whatever-it-was again. We’re asking God to do this to us. “Godly sorrow” she called it.

Now, as a devoted Episcopalian, I do believe that God is Light and when we separate ourselves from God, we place ourselves into darkness. The darkness is our consequence, one that we chose for ourselves by our own actions. This is the responsibility of freewill.

Honestly, part of what sustains my Christian faith is the endless positivity that can be found, even in extremely difficult times. By asking for sorrow as some emotionally burdening version of self flagellation in a manner that regards God as an administrator of punishment, as opposed to a sanctuary of peace, I think is off-message.


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