Is Feeling Bad About My Sin the Same as Repentance?

No. An unrepentant person can feel bad or sorry about doing something sinful, but there will be no lasting change. Consider the abusive husband that cries and tells his wife he is sorry after abusing her in a drunken rage. That sorrow only lasts until he gets drunk again, and the story is repeated. This is the sorrow of the world. Godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10) is that which galvanizes the sinner to change no matter what the price. When someone is under conviction of the Holy Spirit they might feel bad and even cry because they know they are living in sin. However, tears or feelings of regret are not sufficient. There must be sorrow of a godly sort due to the recognition of wrongdoing accompanied with a purpose never to return to that life of sin. This is the only kind of sorrow that will bring true repentance.

Repentance of Nineveh

When Jonah preached in Nineveh that the city would be overthrown in forty days, the people believed God and proclaimed a fast. No living being in the city, neither man nor beast, ate food or drank water. Man and beast were covered with sackcloth in a sign of contrition and repentance. God spared the city! (Jonah 3:4-10).

Heroes of Faith

The “Heroes of Faith” of the Old Testament went through great adversity and trouble. The apostles of the New Testament faced much opposition, and all experienced a martyr’s death except for the apostle John. The saints around the throne in Heaven had come “out of great tribulation” (Revelation 7:14). Suffering and tribulation are part of the Christian life!

Blind Guides

From the writings of Tertullian circa 210 AD: “So long as you deem yourself a Christian, you are a different man from a pagan. Give him back his own views of things! After all, he does not himself learn from your views. Why lean upon a blind guide if you have eyes of your own? Why be clothed by one who is naked if you have put on Christ?”

Corrupt Deacons

The Shepherd of Hermas (c. 150 A.D.) wrote concerning corrupt deacons:

“They that have spots are the deacons that exercised their office ill and plundered the livelihood of widows and orphans and made gains for themselves from the ministrations they had received to perform” (Sim., IX, 26).