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Monday, March 9, 2015

A Broken and Contrite Heart

Sometime in your lifetime you will discover that something you have done has offended someone you truly care for. You will be totally unaware of it, and suddenly it is before you. The news stops you in your tracks. Where you once felt the openness of the Holy Spirit, you suddenly face a wall that you hadn't even known existed. How do you handle that crippling information you haven't known? First you look inside your heart and ask the Lord to reveal to you your motive. John Wesley wrote that sin is found in the motive of the heart. If the motive behind your action comes from pride, anger, bitterness, resentment, jealousy or the like, the action is sin. If the motive for what you have done comes from a heart of love that desires the best for someone else, then the failure is not sin. It is the way that something was handled. What you have discovered is not discipline to correct sin, but pruning of self so that the harvest that is already in your life can bring forth more abundant fruit.

Even if your motive is right, it still breaks your heart to think you have wounded a friend. Much worse is to wonder if you have broken the Lord’s heart. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NIV). “Have mercy on me, O God,” David cried, “according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1-2, NIV). If you confess, He is faithful to forgive, and cleanse your heart. If you ask for His unfailing love, you will know and experience His forgiveness once again. Your heart will be pliable in His hands. If you fail Him in anyway, your heart will horribly ache. You will feel and know His pain as if it is your own.

Lord, if I have wounded and made another one stumble, then forgive me. If I have said words without thinking that have wounded, forgive me. If I have turned away from someone's painful cry because I might suffer too, then forgive me. If I have been cold and unfeeling to someone's need, forgive me. If I have run from my responsibility and longed to be hidden from its requirement, then, please, forgive me. Lord, I confess the sins and failures that I know, and the ones that I do not know. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10). Everyday renew your spirit within me. Keep me soft and pliable on your altar so your steadfast spirit is secured within me. Guide me. Love me, and keep me safe from my own ability to fail you. I place my life in your hands today, and trust you will do whatever is necessary to mold me and renew my heart. It needs renewing, Lord, because it has never been so broken. Thank you, Jesus, that a broken and contrite heart you will not despise, but will love with all the grace of Calvary.

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