Godly Sorrow and True Joy

Christ (Detail) – J18
Christ (Detail) – J18

“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world….” (John 16:33) 

There are two sorrows and two joys in this life and in the hereafter.  The first sorrow is when we experience trials and tribulations in this world, which are unavoidable, and do not use them in a positive and helpful way.  How can we do this positively?  By realizing that every event in our life can be an opportunity to grow and have faith in God.

We also need to see that any other faith outside of Him is limited and will always fail to make us truly fulfilled and joyous.  When we are not thankful for both the good and the seemingly bad, this is not positive.  This ungodly sorrow over our thwarted self-chosen plans or relationships does not lead to Eternal Life.

Godly sorrow is something else entirely.  It is sorrow over our fallen condition, over our lack of love for God and others, over our lack of honesty and effort in our spiritual life, and over our poor choice to spend most of our time on worldly concerns without tying them humbly to Christ’s life and love.  This sorrow is temporary, but pregnant with meaning, for it gives birth to never ending joy.

The worldly leaders rejoiced when Christ died, while His Disciples lived in great anguish and sorrow.  Three days later He rose from the dead, and when they saw Him they entered into great and Eternal joy.  May we be with them even today through Godly sorrow that leads to His Eternal joy!

     “And ye now have sorrow, but I shall see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”  (John 16:22)


The Monastics at St. Isaac of Syria Skete
  and at the Convent of St. Silouan
  and the Faithful at St. Nicholas Church
  and the Staff at Orthodox Byzantine Icons and St. Isaac’s Bookstore.