Rend Your Heart

When I was a child, I had the misconception that I could knowingly sin – plan to sin – and later tell God that I was sorry.

“I’ll do this now, but I’ll plan to ask God for forgiveness later, and he will be okay with that,” was my philosophy.

Sounds pretty dumb, right?

I hadn’t thought about that in a long time, but my childish foolishness came to mind today when reading a David Jeremiah devotional about true repentance. This verse was highlighted:

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

For the Jews of ancient Israel, rending (tearing) one’s garments was an outward sign of grief or other great distress.

Image by Richard Mcall from Pixabay


Job did so upon the learning of the death of his children.

Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped. – Job 1:20

Reuben tore his robe when he discovered that Joseph was no longer in the pit from which Reuben had planned to rescue Joseph.

And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. – Genesis 37:29

In the New Testament, Barnabas and Paul did so when the people of Lystra wanted to worship them as gods, after the apostles performed a miracle.

Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein. – Acts 14:14-15

But in Joel 2, God asked not for an outward show of repentance, but for true inward repentance. All the outward indications and traditions of Christianity mean nothing if one’s heart is not striving daily to turn away from sin, and toward God.  True repentance is about hating sin as passionately as God does, and seeking to purge it from our lives.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay


That’s tough to do. I admit, though I no longer employ my childish philosophy of “sin now, confess later,” I don’t always get very upset about my sin. And I do tend to repeat the same sins. I know that I wouldn’t have as much of an issue with these sins if I were truly heartbroken about them, if I “rent my heart,” as God requested.

The great Old Testament prophet Samuel said it this way:

Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. – 1 Samuel 15:22

What are your thoughts on taking sin seriously? What role does repentance play in your devotional life? I always appreciate your thoughtful and insightful comments. Thank you so much for your input!

because home wasn't built in a day

8 thoughts on “Rend Your Heart”

  1. Well, well isn’t this the thick of it? I am like a child in the fact that, that which I should not do, I do. I lost my temper this morning and threw a fit that would put any 2 year old to shame. Of course, it was on the inside 🙂 so no one saw it… no one but God. In my inside behavior I know He was not pleased. I can justify by saying I didn’t lash out as I would have in past, but it’s for my mom, these doctors are letting her die…blah, blah, blah blah blaaaaaah. I can justify it all I want BUT it is a sin. And what a lack of faith it shows. Don’t I trust God? Am I a liar too? I profess His control and yet here I am lashing out, like I don’t know any better.

    Sin after sin, they just keep adding up, don’t they? I feel, that God knows we are human. He made us. He will use our sins to teach us how to sin less and less each day. We just have to try, and truly and humbly seek His help when we find ourselves returning to our fleshy ways. When faced with this dilemma this verse comes to mind, “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.” If Jesus can say there is none good but God, that pretty much sums it up. Great post Sister 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was like you, even as an adult. I thought of Jesus as being so nice that he would forgive the sins I was wilfully commiting. But that was when I only knew “about” Jesus. I didn’t know him personally, as I do now, after my repentance and conversion. The Lord knows us, and He knows that we desire not to offend Him by sinning. Day by day, with our co-operation, He gives us the grace to resist sin.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s