What does contrite mean?
Caused by or showing sincere remorse.
Filled with a since of Guilt, and a desire for atonement; penitent; A contrite sinner.
That’s what the dictionary says.
Now, lets see what the Bible says.
Ps 34:18 -The Lord is nigh unto them that have broken heart; and saveth such be of a contrite spirit.
In NIV it says- The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Ps 51:17-The sacrifices of God are a broken Spirit; a broken and a contrite heart , O God, thou wilt not despise.
NIV-The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Is 57:15- For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
NIV- For this is what the high and lofty one says- he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“ I live in the high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Several years ago the Pastor, at the Church I go to sometimes, taught on a contrite spirit, I believe it was in a Bible study. I had never heard anything about it before, or maybe I had, maybe I just never absorbed it before. Maybe I didn’t need it then, or maybe I wasn’t ready to hear it. He mentioned it again recently during Lent. That’s what got me thinking about it again. When I first heard him teach on a Contrite Spirit several years ago. Well, even though I couldn’t remember ever hearing the word contrite before, I Thought knew what it meant. I came home and got my dictionary out and my Bible and I read everything I could find on a contrite spirit or heart.
You see I was saved when I was nineteen. My husband and I moved to the mountains to a Christian Commune. I loved it there, it was beautiful, we had Bible studies every morning before starting our day. I saw miracles happen. I loved the Lord. Everything was good. Then my Husband said we had to move. I didn’t want to leave. I was very sad. But, I got over it. My husband started going to Bible College. Things weren’t as good anymore, but they weren’t that bad. At first. It happened so slowly that I didn’t relies what was coming until it was over. My marriage was over. I won’t tell you that whole story. Not right now anyway. But, I started to backslide. I got farther and farther away from God. Until I didn’t think I would ever find my way back. I made a lot of mistakes. I hurt the people I loved the most. Sometimes I would try to go to a Church. But, I never felt welcome. The farther I got away from God the more it seemed I could never come back. I couldn’t forgive myself for the things I had done. Sometimes, I would try to talk to Christians about it. They would tell me I had to forgive myself. How could I expect God to forgive me if I couldn’t forgive myself? That just made my guilt worse. Then I couldn’t forgive myself for not being able to forgive myself. I blamed myself for everything. After I found out that I had this terrible disease, that I got from doing drugs, I finally quit my evil ways. I started to go to Church, even though I felt like an outsider. That was where I was still at, in my head, when I heard the Pastor say something about a Contrite Spirit. You can see what this means to me. The Lord loves me anyway even if I can’t forgive myself. He still forgives me. He’s glad that I am remorseful for the things I did. Because then he can forgive me, and now at last I can forgive myself, a little. Oh and if your thinking, ” Yeah, but that’s old testament stuff.” This year the pastor told the story of the prodigal son. It’s the same thing in the new testament, and it’s explained better. I don’t know why I never really thought about it before, I’ve heard that story plenty of times. When you come to him with a contrite spirit, then he can forgive you for your sins. But, if you don’t even believe that you’ve done wrong, if you always blame someone else, how can he forgive you then. Are you suppose to go through life punishing yourself for something you’ve done? No, I don’t think so. But, you won’t forget, at least not in this life, not as long as you have your right mind anyway, and you will always be sorry. There will always be a little part of your heart that’s broken. Unless the Lord heals it and he may do that for some people, he may do it for me one day if I live long enough. But, I pray that he heals my loved ones, The ones that are still alive, first from any harm that I may have done to them. Even though I never meant to hurt anyone, I know I did.
How can I expect God to forgive me, even if I can’t forgive myself? Because he is God and He is perfect.