A Personal Psalm: Rending and Restoring
To rend: to separate into parts with force or violence; to tear apart, split, or divide; to pull or tear violently; to tear (one's garments or hair) in grief, rage (rent—past tense) Calvin, my daughter’s red bone coon hound, loves to find treasures—socks, underwear, dollar bills—and tear them to pieces. He rends them.
My friend Edwina asked me to tear apart—to rend--old clothes for meaningful additions to make a beautiful quilt. It was fun to tear and cut those old things up.
Sometimes, though, relationships are rent. War, disasters, misunderstandings can be the cause of separation, of rending. But sadly, too often people do it to themselves. Friends, neighbors, churches, families are torn apart, divided—rent.
Sad. Very sad. Pain. Brokenness. Sorrow.
An appropriate Old Testament response to such destruction would be to rend garments and mourn in sackcloth and ashes.
But God gives us another response:
Rend your heart and 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. (Joel 2:12-13)
He hates division and strife, destruction and tearing apart. The story revealed page by biblical page is of His unrelenting efforts at restoration and reconciliation.
Just listen to the heart of God for healing and mending:
I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22
I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. Jeremiah 24:7
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. Ezekiel 11:19
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me...." John 17:20-21
So, as I watch people hurt each other, as hearts are broken, as relationships are rent, I will hope in the goodness of God and His intention to restore.
What about you? How have you seen relationships rent?
C2012 Judy Douglass