When you take some time to read the Biblical books of the minor prophets, you can find some really amazing verses. I have been hearing many not so nice comments lately about baking cakes and our immoral society and then today, I ran across this verse:
“Rend your hearts and not your garments.”
It seems like Christians, of which I am one, spend a lot of time and make a big show of fighting the wrong battles. While we may have the higher moral ground on some issues, we cause an incredible amount of pain and heartache by insulting non- Christians or Christians with differing doctrines in the name of a righteous veiwpoint. I think that we would do a lot better if we loved others as Jesus instructed us rather than fighting about conflicting choices. We will be living out Christ’s words only when we engage in compassionate conversations with adversaries rather than marching across moral battlefields and drawing blood with legalistic swords.
Rending, or tearing of clothes was a pharisaical reaction to heresy. I can’t think of a single instance in Scripture when a Pharisee let his heart be torn apart by grief because he was so saddened by those who differed from him. Jesus did not tear his clothes, yet his heart was constantly broken by the everyday sinful behavior that he saw. Whether it was his own disciples cloudy vision, his society’s twisted religiousity or the outright evil of the Roman empire, Jesus allowed his heart to be broken time and time again. He showed us how broken hearts can lead to reconciliation with Himself, and also with each other. It was his sorrowful attitude towards those who disagreed or simply misunderstood him, that would bring them into relationship with him and give a face to the God described in his own words as gracious, compassionate, patient and all loving.
“Rend your hearts, not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love and he relents from sending calamity.”