Rend your heart and not your garments. “
Now return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
And relenting of evil.
Rend your heart …
Wouldn’t that hurt?
Indeed, and that is why the other possibility is so close: you can also rip your clothes. And you can even tear your clothes in such a way that there is only a small tear in them and that you can still look good with those torn clothes.
O, how cheaply we can try to get rid of God’s demands and calling.
Why? Because we don’t want to feel that pain; the pain of the torn heart.
Because that can only be healed by the God of all grace.
Who wants to do that too;
Who wants to give life to the wounded.
In Christ Jesus.
Do you already know about that? As the tax collector, who called to the living God in the temple court, apparently knew? (Luke 18:9-14)
For He is gracious and merciful, long-suffering and great in mercy.
These are familiar words. They are mentioned several times in the Bible.
We read and hear so often of His grace, His mercifulness, His long-suffering and His kindness that we run the risk that the meaning of these words will no longer dawn on us.
Joel means by saying that the Lord wants to forgive the people who have turned away from Him, if they turn to Him.
The prophet calls for penance and repentance.
This involves certain forms, such as fasting, weeping and mourning (Joel 2:12), but it is mainly about the inner self. The tearing of the heart.
Let us ask ourselves today if our hearts have ever been torn, so that we cried inside because of our sins, and could not resist confessing them to the Lord.
It is important to know about this. For in this way the rich content of this text is experienced: The Lord is also merciful to me, he has mercy on me, how patient he has been with me, and how faithful he has been to me despite my infidelity.
These treasures and gifts can be found in Christ.
A “Pearl of great value!”
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