What to tear
In Bible times, people showed anger, sorrow, grief, despair, or torment by “rending” their clothing. To “rend” is to tear something into two or more pieces. While this can be construed as just a ritual, for many people it was a sign of showing sincere remorse, grief, or regret.
Anyone can tear a piece of clothing without much effort. One might not tear something precious to him into pieces, but an article of clothing can easily be torn into pieces or shreds, especially if one is angry or upset.
Joel was a prophet of God, sent to tell the people to repent of their sins. One of the most important things he told them was this: instead of tearing your clothes to symbolize or show you are grieved, tear your hearts.
Today more than ever, we need this message. How easy it is to do things that show or demonstrate that we are sorry, grieved, or burdened. Yet, it’s another thing to tear our hearts. It’s also easy to look at other people and think what they are doing is wrong and that they need to have torn hearts, but that is not what God wants or expects of us. He wants us to look at our own hearts. God doesn’t ask us to tear someone else’s heart. He wants us to tear our own!
What not to tear
It’s one thing to be sorry we’ve been caught or to wish we had never done something. It’s another thing to be sorry for the actual sin. There’s a difference between wishing we had not been caught and groaning for forgiveness and being repentant.
Many of us do a lot more “rending of clothes” than rending of our hearts. We’ve expressed frustration, battled, and warred with our circumstances that are results of choices we’ve made. We’re sorry for the aftermath, but don’t want to change the prelude. We are walking in recessional rather than processional.
Certainly, we can’t change our choices or the consequences from our past. Yet, a true rending of the heart causes us to do a complete 180 in our journey. It means we experience a transfer of ownership.
Redemption comes in tearing our hearts
The message from the prophet to the people thousands of years ago rings true today. Don’t tear your clothes or things. Tear your hearts.
That’s when we find Redemption and peace. There is only one way for our communities, country, and world to find peace. It’s not from tearing people or things. It comes from tearing our hearts before Him.
Image attributions to Pixabay.
Credit for the photo with the broken globe belongs to Steve Watts and Pixabay.
*Note: While it might seem this post is appropriate for what is happening in our country today, it was written and scheduled to be posted before any of these events took place. I just wanted you to know.