Monday, July 13, 2009

Do you have a contrite heart?

Contrite is a word you don't hear too often today. Here's what it means:

Contrite: showing sincere remorse; filled with a sense of guilt and the desire for atonement; penitent.

How often do we see someone who's willing to admit a fault or a mistake and is really sorry for what they've done? Any politicians come to mind? Any movie stars? How about your friends or family? Most ot the time people want to make excuses for their behavior or try to make it out to be "no big deal" or "everyone does it". Usually we will only see remorse when someone in the public eye gets caught and their popularity is at stake. Even then, is it true remorse?

Sad to say, even among most Christians I know, true repentance and remorse are a rarity. People tend to hold onto certain sins which they think are not a big deal, sins they've convinced themselves are "acceptable". (Such as pornography, lying, gossiping, slander, hatred, wicked thoughts, lust, jealousy, envy, rage) Some people rationalize that as long as they aren't hurting anyone else, it's okay and besides, God can't expect them to be perfect!

What tiny sins are you holding onto today? Anything that you know is wrong but that you continue to do on a daily or weekly basis? I'm not talking about weaknesses you struggle with and are trying to get better with God's help. I'm talking about purposeful sinful acts and thoughts. Think it's no big deal? Listen to what God says:

Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call? It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore. Isaiah 59:1-2

Having trouble hearing from God? Wondering if He's hearing your prayers?

What happens when you repent and have a truly contrite heart?

I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word. Isaiah 66:2

The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts. Isaiah 57:15

The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit Psalm 34:18

What we need more in this country and in the church is true repentance, humility and remorse. If we don't learn to do this, my fear is God will turn away from us and no longer hear our prayers.


  1. This was a wonderful devotional. Having a contrite heart is the only way to true forgiveness and healing.

  2. Thank you so much for this. I love reading your blog! I don't think I have ever taken the time to look up what the word contrite means. Thank you for giving the insight.

    We were just talking about this at Bible study last night. One of the ladies recommended a book "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges. Her son's college class is doing it as a Bible study right now. it deals with this very thing.

  3. I love reading your blog posts. They are always very convicting...thank your for writing them!!!!


  4. I had googled contrite and found your blog. Thank you Mary. I've sent this along to a family member. I pray this will lead them to wholeness and healing. God bless!

  5. Indeed, this is true. But, we must realize that a heart that is broken and contrite is only that way because God gives it. As I look in myself, I see clearly that it is impossible for me, of my own volition, to be broken and contrite. My prayer is that God will be merciful to me, and give a broken and contrite heart, and forgive.

  6. Good point, Mark. Often we are unable to humble ourselves enough to even be sorry for our failings. Thank God, He is so merciful and so gracious to reach down and help us with that as well!
    It is a prayer we should request of Him often.

  7. MaryLu I need your help. I agree with Mark's position and I very much want to be that completely repentant contrite person. However, my wife believes that it is demonstrated by tears. Since I've had some problems with my emotions either being cut off or inappropriate I'm concerned with REAL contrition. I so want complete restoration with my wife.

  8. Mincho, I have a husband who has only cried once in 20 years.. it's just that way with some men. Have you asked your wife how else you can prove your repentance? Is there some other way? Of course, you must first be truly repentant. That is between God and you. Only God knows your heart. My suggestion is to get on your knees with God. Ask Him for His mercy to create in you a truly contrite heart and then ask Him to help you restore your relationship with your wife.. to soften her heart toward you. God honors marriage and wants people to stay together, so He will be pleased with your request. Stay close to God and follow His lead and He will work it out. It may take time and lots of love. Hope that helps..