12 "Yet even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13 and rend your hearts and not your garments." Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. - Joel 2:12-13
The Lord asks us to return to Him with weeping and mourning. When we finally recognize our sin for what it is, we should be drawn to tears at its destructive nature. Our sin is born out of our need to put ourselves first. It wrecks the relationships around us and our relationship with God. It should bring us low, as low as we can go. If your sin doesn’t move you to tears, you haven’t yet been moved to repentance. We need to recognize how our sin grieves our Heavenly Father to be drawn to a place of weeping and mourning, and until we do, we will continue to return to the temptation.
“And rend your hearts and not your garments” refers to the custom of tearing your clothes. When people were deeply grieved, they would tear their garments as an outward manifestation of their grief. Many would even do it as a way to boast to others of their obedience to God. But God doesn’t want us to be doing it for others. He’s not interested in what others think of us. He’s only interested in our hearts. If you go through the motions of a fast as a way to boast to others, or you spend more time in prayer with others than you do alone with God, you’re more focused on the outward appearance. God is calling us to a heart transformation in these verses. He wants to impact us from the inside out, not the outside in.
Our God gives us an open invitation to return to Him in these verses, despite how we have wandered away. He stands there waiting with open arms for us to recognize our sin as He sees it, and to turn from our ways. And when we do, there is such abundant forgiveness and healing - do our own hearts and for the relationships in our lives.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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