You can have many reasons for being sorry. You may be ashamed because you’ve been caught doing something forbidden. Maybe there’s fear of what others will say, think, or do when they find out what you’ve done. You could be sorry for the hurt or embarrassment you’ve caused others. But repentance isn’t the same as being sorry.
Repentance isn’t admitting you’re a sinner, repeating a prayer of forgiveness, or crying. Repentance is hating your sin because its rebellion against God. False repentance dreads the consequences of sin; true repentance dreads sin itself.
Repentance is a change of purpose, heart, and mind about sin that results in turning to godliness. It is a complete change in direction from doing what you like to doing what pleases God.
Repenting doesn’t make anyone saved. Salvation is only by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. Repentance is a fruit of salvation, not the root of it.
How do you know if repentance is genuine? Your life permanently changes as you live a life in obedience to the Word of God. You hate your sin and love righteousness. You increasingly become like Jesus.
… how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God (1 Thessalonians 1:9)