March 5

Psalm 51:1-17

“The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” vs. 17

The news that we are created in the image of God and are by nature the crown of creation, oozing with goodness, has long been stifled in the proclamation of the church. Instead our leaders have focused on an opposite metaphor, a picture of a fallen and depraved humanity, and the message of grace has often been obscured. There are some good reasons for that emphasis…we good humans have a remarkable propensity for doing ugly and despicable things. We’ve earned the guilt we feel! Certainly the psalmist was aware of his own sin and comes before God with a strong sense of remorse…he has not lived in line with the intentions of God. He yearns for a thorough and complete cleansing…and the sacrificial system has not done the trick! He knows that God has no interest in his burnt offerings and concludes that only a broken heart will restore the relationship with God. Some Christians would say that we’re in a better position, that Jesus’ death on the cross has reconciled us to God and nothing more remains to be done. But the truth is that we can’t skip the broken spirit step on the road to recovery. It’s only from the depths that we can hear the words of forgiveness and mercy from our ever-loving God. The key is an honest confession…then comes the celebration of our created goodness and the freedom to live with joy in our hearts and love on our lips!

Thought for the Day: What does a broken spirit feel like?

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