Monday, April 29, 2013


My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.
                           Psalm 51:17

Have you ever felt really bad about something you've done or the way you've behaved? It happens to everyone at times. But when our moods aren't stable, we are especially susceptible to feelings of guilt. Sometimes well-founded; sometimes - when we're thinking irrationally - not so. We are often "brokenhearted." 
I've found that praying Psalm 51 offers great comfort when I'm hurting. David wrote it after he realized how wrong he'd been to have committed adultery with Bathsheba and to have her husband killed. David tells God that he has a "contrite [or repentant] heart," having a desire for forgiveness, a desire to change and become the kind of person God wants him to be. When I read David's words over and over, I too am able to express my deep regret and pain. I draw closer to God as well.
Good things come from humbly going to God with a broken and repentant heart. Scripture has shown how it can help make us into people God is able to use. There's David, for example, as portrayed in Psalm 51: Although great sin had led David to write this prayer, he became a person the Bible referred to as "a man after God's own heart." And then there's the apostle Peter in the New Testament: After he denied knowing Jesus three times before His crucifixion, Luke 22:61-62 reports how he "went outside and wept bitterly." The agony he must have suffered, realizing how he had turned his back on his Lord! He, too, had a broken heart. It was a heart that was ready to change, ready to obey God. The rest of Peter's story shows him to be a transformed man - a humble, but bold and dynamic speaker. He became a man who gave his all to Jesus.
If David and Peter were brought closer to God in their brokenness, able to be used by Him, could we not as well?  
PS: Glenda de Vries, the co-facilitator of the Living Room group at Rouge Valley Mennonite Church in Markham, Ontario, had an article published in the Christian Courier last week. The title of the piece: GOD LOVES THE BROKENHEARTED. You can access it by going to Congratulations Glenda, and thank you for helping raise much-needed awareness. We're proud of you.
(If you would like to receive reflections on Scripture like this one - written with people with mental health problems in mind - go to the Living Room website and subscribe on the homepage.)

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