I know. You thought this was a Christian blog! **GASP** It is! Keep your clothes on.
Just yesterday I came across, yet again, another person ripping off their clothes in the Bible (and people think God’s word is not entertaining). There are various times when people have been provoked to “tear their clothes.” I read my Bible every day. I have read about people tearing their clothes on multiple occasions. It doesn’t matter how many times I see it. I always laugh. Probably because I picture the heroes of the faith doing this:
This is what goes on in my mind! I joke about tearing my clothes in moments of anguish with my mother-in-law. We’re convinced there were a lot of people running around naked in the Old Testament.
Why were these Jews ripping their clothes, anyway? When struck with grief, in moments of mourning, or times of loss, it was common in Jewish tradition for one to tear their clothes. In certain incidences, tearing your clothes expressed the pain and sorrow a person was feeling. People tore their clothes even in times of repentance, when they knew their actions hurt the heart of their God. It was an outward explanation of an inward expression. That is why Joel 2:13 struck me straight to the bone.
“Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the Lord your God.” Which leads me to think, that the people at this time, played the part of repentance, but didn’t really mean it FULLY in their hearts.
As much as I want to say, “Dang Israelites, can you just get it right?” I have to realize there have been plenty of times where I did the lip service, but never took the action to really change. I may want the change… but not that badly, apparently.
There are habits, lifestyles, and secrets that erode us on the inside. People, and places, we put ourselves around that get us into trouble. We love God, we go to church, we play the holy part, but then, mid-week, we can find ourselves stuck in the same mud.
Maybe it’s because we’re tearing our clothes and doing everything else but tearing our hearts. Here’s some food for thought:
- Realize it is never too late. No matter how many times we screw up, fall down, botch it- God is graceful, merciful, and compassionate towards us. He will always want you back because you mean so much to him. Some people can get all bent out of shape when it comes to conviction, but conviction is a healthy thing! It is what pushes us to grow, to be better, and to help others. Allow conviction to tear your heart to God, not turn it to other people or things.
- Continually be in God’s word. The Israelites fell away because they forgot who their God was. Start reading the Bible, google your questions, ask someone you trust or a leader in your church for assistance. The more you get to know God, the more you will understand him and, ultimately, yourself.
- The other nations around Israel knew about the God they worshipped. Unfortunately, the Israelites did a lot of things that didn’t represent him well. I’ve heard a ton of stories of people who have been hurt by Christians because of their actions. We’re all human, so we are going to mess up! But, if we’re going to say we are Christians, we should at least be growing towards living like Christ and loving others.
- You are a leader somewhere. Whether you are leading your family, business, team, volunteer position or, heck, your kid’s PTA, you are leading someone. As a leader, I want to make sure I am doing this, tearing my heart, first before I expect anyone else to. I want to lead by example not just for myself, but for the sake of others! It’s that important. Remain humble and keep your heart in check. ❤