Contrition Brings Refreshing

Let’s try an experiment. I’m going to say a few words and you analyze how you feel when you read them. Ready? Go:

contriteGodly sorrow. Repentance. Contrition.

How did you feel? Like you wanted to skip this post? (Um, wait…don’t do that!) Too often Christians seem to stop up their ears whenever someone starts talking about being contrite. I’ve experienced various reactions:

  • An embarrassing feeling. Does one of those words evoke the equivalent feeling of when you imagine giving a speech in your underwear?
  • A less funny, more painstaking type of feeling that comes when I shift from believing that it’s something I need to do and not just something I should do.
  • Repentance becomes my choice. It becomes a desire because the focus is off of myself and entirely on Him. I surrender to a state of brokenness because it is a conviction.

The woman with the alabaster box found herself in a state of brokenness. Her raw feelings were spilled out beautifully all over the place. Similarly, King David found himself in a place of godly sorrow when seeing his sin square in the face.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7 NKJV He wanted to be purged. When was the last time I asked God to purge me? That sounds like one of those dangerous prayers.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart― These, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:17 NKJV

Everyone generally understands what it is to be humble. What is it like to be contrite? When we are contrite, it’s because we offered our stoney heart to Him. Our heart in these verses is referring to our feelings, our will and even our intellect. Sometimes we feel the work of the Holy Spirit prodding us to release the way we think or feel about something. In the process of surrendering he is able to chip away at the hardness and eventually what remains is a powder. Guess what happens to the powder? Read on.


Benefits of Being Contrite

For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15 NKJV

  1. He promises to dwell with us. Dwell. With. Us.
  2. He revives our spirit. When we are humble our spirit man is wonderfully revived by His refreshing water. His living water is mixed with the powder and we become a workable clay!
  3. He revives our heart. When we are contrite, He revives our heart, including our feelings, our will and our intellect.

Allowing ourselves to be in a state of contrition is a good thing. The hinderance is primarily pride. I know from first hand experience. The devil lies to us. Tell the devil to shut it. Look ahead to those benefits of being contrite.

Did you find yourself in this post somewhere? Could you relate to any of the various reactions? Tell us about it by leaving a comment.

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Photo credits: BloOwITt and SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (Creative Commons)

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