Do you see the ugliness of your own sin and the holiness of God?
Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Corinthians 7:9-10 KJV)
Paul is rejoicing that these men had not been merely made sorry for their sinful condition but were made sorry seeing their own horrid sinfulness against the holiness and perfection of God. To see one’s sinful condition, or to have knowledge of sin in general is not the same as feeling personal sorrow for their sin making the choice to turn from their sin unto new spiritual life in Jesus Christ.
The world is full of people who understand what sin is and often see sin in the life of another, but never come to the point of personally sorrowing for their own sinful state and darkened heart condition. It is easier to adopt a pharisaical attitude towards sin not sorrowing for our own pitiful state but rather deflecting attention from our own sin and pointing out the horrid sin of others about us. Many try to place value of sin in degrees from minor infractions (which we commit) to large or voluminous sins (committed by others) who are near us.
Humble sorrow for sin brings about new eternal life in Christ, coping with a passive attitude or indifference for our own ill spiritual condition brings about our certain death, both physically and spiritually, for all eternity.