True humility comes from brokenness, and through that brokenness, contrition. To be contrite, means to be broken or crushed by the weight of our guilt. Our human tendencies and our pride are being crushed to the point of repentance. In our own lives, we may have been faced with someone who was asking for our forgiveness through their own broken and contrite heart, or perhaps been that person ourselves. A person may weep due to the initial guilt of the realization of the consequence of their sins. Through this realization, however, we begin to accept our sincere dependence on God for the forgiveness of our sins, which leads us to repentance. Repentance is the defining characteristic of the brokenhearted. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17) God does not treat a person with a contrite heart with anger or contempt, but instead offers His grace and mercy. One of the comments Tiger made in his apology that struck me the most was “everyone of you has good reason to be critical of me”. Do we really? Jesus told the Pharisees who brought a woman to Him who was caught in adultery, “if anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone” (John 8:7) Each one of them began to leave and when Jesus asked the woman, “…where are they? Has no one condemned you?" she replied "No one, sir," "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." (John 8:10-11) When I watch someone who has experienced a “spiritual relapse” and committed sins that have not only caused themselves harm, but to those closest to them, repent and ask for forgiveness, I cannot help but remember the times that I have done the same. Watching Tiger Woods today brought a flood of memories back to me and I wept. I wept for him as a child of God, for his family and for the sacrifice that Jesus has made for each and everyone of us. I wept in thankfulness for what Christ has done in my life. We do not have to live a life with a crushed and broken heart with the fear that we will be hidden from God’s sight forever. Forgiveness and grace are available to us all. Through a broken, contrite and repentant heart, we can be free from the weight of sin. We have the promise that God will not “despise” us for our sins, although there are those who will despise us. Satan does, although he trembles at the name of Jesus. The world will despise us, but stands in awe of sin. I am thankful today for my broken heart. I am thankful that I was not hidden from God’s sight, but instead welcomed back home with Him from a cold world that offered me nothing but shame and grief.
"The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." - Psalm 34:15-18