Friday, December 19, 2008

Joel 2:13 -- On Broken Hearts

"And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil."
Joel 2:13

In Old Testament times it was common to tear your clothes if something really bad happened... it showed people how upset you were. :)  Here, God tells us to tear our hearts, not our clothes... sort of like telling us to offer a broken heart and a contrite spirit, but this way seems a little more active.  God asking us to break our own hearts. :)
And why would we do that?  Having a broken heart is a very painful thing.  Choosing that kind of pain is difficult.  I think what God is saying here makes a lot of sense though.  Crying and tearing our clothes and saying how awful it is isn't going to change anything... if we are sincerely upset by events that happen, the best thing to do is to change ourselves, since that is the only thing that we have control of.  As we adjust our hearts and minds, God will withdraw whatever it is that caused us horror in the first place... or we will have already sacrificed whatever it was in the process. 
Yes, it is a very painful choice ... but it is also the only one where something actually changes.  Standing in the street, tearing our clothes and crying about how awful and unfair it all is won't make a difference.  Instead, let's break open our hearts, feel the pain of change, and become newer and better, with God's help.  Then we won't have anything to complain about, and whenever our hearts gets broken, it will be our own wise choices that do it.

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