Friday, August 28, 2009

Joel 2:13 -- On Breaking Our 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. :)

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, we will see God’s way, and that it is so much better. Not just better for God, but better for us… because he only asks us to go through this kind of pain because he loves us and he knows it is necessary. 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 own 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 get broken, it will be our own wise choices that do it. Better than letting the world control us and change us… we can learn to change ourselves, with God’s help.


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