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A contrite heart and spirit

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Announcements Forums Doctrine of Atonement – October 15th, 2017 A contrite heart and spirit

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    I thought it was interesting that in Psalms ‘contrite’ is used interchangeably with ‘heart’ and ‘spirit’:

    Ps. 51:17: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
    Ps. 34:18: The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

    1828 Dictionary:
    CONTRITE, a. Literally, worn or bruised. Hence, broken-hearted for sin; deeply affected with grief and sorrow for having offended God; humble; penitent; as a contrite sinner. A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psalm 51.

    To me it means we must have humility, and be on our knees before God, for I think one can be brokenhearted and still harbor a strong sense of pride or self.


    Thank you for pointing this out. I think this is an important distinction. One can be “broken-hearted” for losing something or someone and feeling sorry for him/herself for the loss. This kind of broken-hearted is full of self. This kind of broken-hearted should, and does, lead us to desire something higher, holier, more substantial than the things of the world we might otherwise hold dear. As you wrote, the broken AND contrite heart is the one that has lost its connection with God, its moral compass so to speak, for having violated a law of God, and feels that loss. That is a healthy state, when you recognize that you have lost your connection with God and desire it more than anything.

    Mrs. Eddy describes this experience well on page 266 of S&H: “Would existence without personal friends be to you a blank? Then the time will come when you will be solitary, left without sympathy; but this seeming vacuum is already filled with divine Love. When this hour of development comes, even if you cling to a sense of personal joys, spiritual Love will force you to accept what best promotes your growth. Friends will betray and enemies will slander, until the lesson is sufficient to exalt you; for ‘man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.'”

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Love is the liberator.