Rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God.
The tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”
Where do you go in the face of difficulties and disappointments? Some go to scripture and prayer. Some seek escape through drugs and alcohol. Others seek comfort through food. Still others go to sex, while more than a few go to gossip, depression, or despair. We all have our coping mechanisms – some good; some not so good.
There are similar possible responses to our spiritual condition. When we realize we have offended God we can resort to strong outward shows of contrition. We can resolve never to trespass again. We can seek to make up for our failure. We can confess our sins to a pastor or friend (a real option where powerful blessings ensue).
God’s call is to embrace a heart-change; to stand before God with no excuses, no justification, no outward evidence; only a broken heart. That is where we find grace. We have nothing to offer God. We have no right to be in his presence. We are undone. In that place, however, is the greatest hope and favor. We have nothing to offer, and God has everything to give. With torn hearts, and repentant prayers we turn to God and discover new hope, rich love, mercy, and grace.