I don’t feel in my emotions like I deserve to receive forgiveness over and over for the same sins. It feels like presuming upon grace. Yet, it is this exact feeling of shame, guilt, & remorse that the Bible calls godly sorrow (2 Cor 7:10-11). “Undeserved”–that’s the point, isn’t it? It can’t be deserved, bought, earned, or repaid. All I can do is scribble “Thank you, Lord Jesus” like a 4 year old with crayons.
Christian Hedonists embrace necessary sorrow for the glory of God. On the one hand, we are utterly committed to pursuing joy in God at all times. But on the other hand, we know there is more to the emotional life of godly people than joy. Joy is not the only good emotion. But without delight in God, no emotion would be good. Either as component or the concomitant of all godly emotions, it is joy in God that makes them good.
Consider sorrow. Neither Jesus nor the Holy Spirit has ever sinned. But both have grieved. Both have been sorrowful. Therefore, godly sorrow is possible.
Not only that, godly sorrow is possible also for sinners. It is possible precisely because of our sin. One form of sorrow is sorrow for doing something wrong. So Paul writes to the Corinthians:
For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it. . . . I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:8-10)