photo credit: onewritelife.com
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 2:12-13
Throughout the pages of the Bible we read about different people mourning the loss of a loved one or mourning over sin. When news entered their ears of a sin or tragedy, they rent their clothes. They tore up what they had. People then were not afforded the luxury of many different outfits of clothing. So, ripping their clothes was truly a great sign of heartache or loss. The loss of a loved one mattered more than their garments.
This is not part of our custom, but back then this was the outward expression of inner grief or turmoil. Many times when sin was repented of, someone would rend their garment, put on sackcloth, ashes, and repent until God would provide his mercy.
In the scripture above in the Book of Joel, God was letting the people know, quit performing the outward expression of ripping your garment, start rending your heart instead.
When we open our hearts, we need to allow God to teach us how to empty our hearts before Him.
God is saying here that we must rend our heart and not our garments. Rending a garment was the outward expression of inner pain, anger, or frustration.
In this scripture context, God is speaking that His people turn to back to Him with weeping and mourning, but rend your heart and not your garment. Do not let it just be an outward show.
The time of rending our hearts is now. It is time to open ourselves up to God, instead of covering up our hurts, our anger, and putting on an outward expression that we are okay. We can be lying to ourselves and wind up in a bigger mess.
Throughout our lives people have hurt us and offended us deeply. Although we not be aware of it, we can keep track of those wrongs. We were treated unfairly and we have every right to be hurt and we have every right to guard ourselves. However, it is when we look in the reflection of God’s Word and we start examining ourselves, can we see ourselves for who we are? Have I held onto pain so long that I don’t even realize that it turned into a grudge? Do I become angry or depressed when I talk about memories? If there something in me that I don’t even see?
As we yield to the Spirit of God, and as we ask Him to uncover the hidden things within ourselves, we will see the truth. There are things within us that are not healthy. As humans we do hold on to past hurts, but God reveals them little by little if we allow Him to. He will heal each and every hurt and memory in our lives. When we get to the place where we can talk about the past or someone who has hurt us, without crying or hurting, then we know that we are healing.
There are many of us who have been deeply hurt or treated unfairly, and we were completely innocent or had the best intentions. However, what the enemy wants to do is to turn that pain around on us, where we start letting things grow in our heart that toxic. We can be so used to doing something and not even realize that’s what we are doing; such as feeling sorry for ourselves. God’s Word is light, it illuminates all the dark crevices of the lurking past, the shadows that run deep into our being. He sheds light and then He fosters healing.
So, how do we rend our hearts today? Do we rip our clothes and sit in ashes today? We, take it all to God. We pour it out in worship. Adoration unto God. Worship is an expression of our love. To rend your heart, is to tear it open, pouring out the contents therein. Pouring out our concerns and our worship to God. Move past the cookie cutter Christianity and pour out your praise unto God.