For God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek salvation. We will never regret that kind of sorrow. But sorrow without repentance is the kind that results in death. (2 Corinthians 7:11 NLT 1st Ed.)

Have you ever seen people weeping in response to a powerful message — public or private — in sincere repentance? Repentance is a Biblical word that is often neglected these days. Repentance comes because people have "godly sorrow" that leads them to change their lives to be in tune with the will of God. The early messengers of God said, "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19 NKJV). Those occasions are incredible to observe. God convicts, hearts are broken because of sin, and repentance occurs. Too often these days, people's hearts are callous. It seems to me that you don't see this happen as frequently these days. People want to do the "church thing." They want to get in, get out, and get on with their "to do" list of Sunday activities.

I have noticed something else, as well. It seems like some people feel good about feeling bad, but never really change. They're all about emotional conviction, but not about spiritual correction. Let me explain.

Some people feel good about feeling bad!
You're in church. You know you should feel guilty and feel bad about not being a better Christian. So, you start feeling bad, but that's good, because for a long time, you didn't feel bad when you sinned or rebelled against the will of God or neglected his call in your life. Then, you feel so convicted that you begin to cry a bit. Then, you may even go before others and cry. You feel good about this, because you knew you were supposed to feel bad, but didn't before, but now you do. You even think, "God must really be happy with me, since I'm finally feeling bad for what I've done." The sad thing is you don't change, because you missed the point. God's goal isn't our feeling bad. His real interest is in our repentance — something that brings about change in us both inside and out. That is what the conviction of the Holy Spirit is supposed to do: convict our hearts and empower our change. God wants us to change and come back to Him. John the Baptizer said, "Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance ..." (Luke 3:8).

I think we can get in to a Christian form of "pseudo sin-suffering" if we aren't careful. Some people like it when preachers yell at them and they feel bad. Others feel relieved to just feel convicted of their sin. But, feeling bad is not the point. Do we receive conviction from the Holy Spirit, have sincere sorrow, and sincerely repent making real life changes? There is a difference between feeling sorry and turning to the way of God. Feeling sorry just involves emotions; repentance involves change at every level of our being — thought, emotion, behavior, and attitude.