Psalm 51:17 – “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – These, O God, You will not despise.”
This verse is really tied to the one before it, which says, ‘You don’t desire sacrifice, or else I would give it…” David is saying that there is NOTHING we can offer God when we have sinned that will appease Him. He doesn’t want more physical, animal sacrifices, but He wants true repentance. External, religious activity cannot replace internal, heartfelt, contrition. The word ‘contrite’ literally means, ‘feeling or showing regret, sorrow, remorse for sin or bad behavior.’ I can’t just ‘clean up my act’ by praying more, giving more, or just being busy myself in religious activity… hoping God will just ‘get over it’. I must repent, be truly broken, and be sorrowful over my sin.
May you and I be those that when we stumble and sin against our God… we are broken about it (please see my blog “Godly Sorrow”). Often, our tendency can be to think that we can appease God by doing ‘stuff’ (pray more, read more, serve in the Church more, etc…). But our wonderful Father and Lord loves us when we simply come to Him in brokenness, and in ‘contriteness’ – showing sorrow and regret and remorse for our failures. This way, He can do the fixing that needs to take place in our hearts. He is good… and He is quick to forgive us when we approach Him like this. May He fix us today.
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