On the other hand, when a fornicator, lecher, or drunkard begins to sorrow because he has wasted the glory days of his youth, when he has ruined his body and has become prematurely senile-that is a sorrow of this world. When a vain person is plunged into sorrow over his sins because he has lost some of his prestige, when a thief sorrows over his thieving because he has landed in jail-all of that is worldly sorrow.
However, when a person grieves over his sins because he sees hell before him, where he will be punished for having insulted the most holy God – that is godly sorrow, provided that it has not been produced by imagination through a person’s own effort. God alone can produce genuine godly sorrow. May God grant us all such sorrow!
Law & Gospel: How to Read and Apply the Bible by C. F. W. Walther (A Reader’s Edition)