Genuine Repentance

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 [KJV])

Rending of clothes in the bible days was a sign of repenting or deep sorrow. King David moaned for Abner in the same manner And David said to Joab, and to all the people that [were] with him, Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner…” (2 Samuel 3:31 [KJV]) That was an outward expression of moaning and sign of true repentance and remorse. Today we find different ways in which people of different cultural background moan and express their sadness when a member of a community dies. Some have different ways of dressing in such occasions. By the way of their dress code one can tell it is a sad occasion.

All this is is outward expression of what people are supposed to be feeling. It is a display of feelings however what may be going on inside is completely opposite of this. Inside someone could be happy for the death for his own reasons yet outwardly he is attempting to appear sad. So regardless of the kind of display we put that does not change what we really feel and that is what will eventually become evident.

God is calling us to put away that hypocrisy and be real. The display we put on before people can only fool the people around us because they can only read the surface. But, God who sees the heart can be read our thoughts cannot be deceived by out publish show. To such He sees hypocrisy, pretense and falsehood. He sees the same selfish and stubborn person who is not ready to change; that person who is determined to stick to his sinful ways of life. “Reputation is not character. True character is a quality of the soul, revealing itself in the conduct.”  {Child Guidance p.161}

We are reminded that God seeing the inside therefore our external display is of no meaning to Him it only keeps us away from God and it prevents us from receiving the grace of God. It will profit us nothing to leave in denial.

Joel 2:13 is a great text, it captures God’s intention for us. His is love and concern for the good of all people. His offer is redemption not to condemnation but only where genuine repentance (‘rend your heart’) is exercised. God is moved with compassion.

Our heart must lay bare before Him not because he can read our hearts but because total surrender is what God wants of us. That bare heart is the one that is ready to receive the gift of God. Make that choice today.

Determine not to rend the outside but the inside and God will rend everything including the outside and remodel it according too his will.

By A. Eliamani

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