"A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn." Ps 51
Contrition does us all good. A truly contrite person effects everyone around her. When we have true sorrow, it seeps out of us, like a rising tide, into the community. Experiencing a contrite person gives us the courage to seek reconciliation with those from whom we have been separated because of our sins and faults. Contrition is powerful.
The people of Niniveh are a powerful example of this. God tells Jonah to go through the great city of Niniveh warning people that if they do not have contrition and repent, they will be destroyed. Amazingly, the people and the king hear Jonah's warning almost immediately and change their lives. The King puts on sackcloth and sits in ashes to demonstrate his sorrow and contrition. The King's heartfelt action convinces God to spare Niniveh, and the point of the story is that God is ready and anxious to do this for all of us.
While Lent demands a new level of humility within and among us, we should not shrink from the task. Humility helps us see ourselves as we are, but not with despair. Authentic humility allows us to acknowledge our own weakness and ask God and those around us for the opportunity to change, and like contrition, it can move others to do the same.
Today, humble yourself by asking someone for forgiveness and renewal.
What keeps you from acknowledging your dependence on God?