A number of years ago I was leading a chapel service at a Christian day school and I was telling the children how the Israelites used to show they were sorry for their sins. By putting ashes in their hair, by crying tears over what they had done wrong, by also even tearing their clothing sometimes. And I did all of those things in front of them, but I told them the most important thing is not just a show we’re sorry on the outside, but to truly be sorry on the inside.
Later that day one of the teachers in our school came up to me and told me “well pastor, one of the kids took your words quite literally and he tore the collar of his shirt to be just like you.” I wondered if the kid had missed the point.
God tells us in Joel chapter 2 verse 13:
Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. – Joel 2:13
It’s good for us to show that we are sorry with our tears and make our confession of sins, but even more than the words we say and the tears that we cry to be truly sorry in our hearts over what we have done wrong.
God directs us to show sorrow for our sins and to truly be sorry in our hearts to point us ultimately back to him to the one who is gracious and compassionate abounding in love.
During this Lenten season recognize your sin and don’t just show your sorrow over sin on the outside, but be sorry on the inside, being reminded also of your God who loves you through His Son Jesus Christ, amen.