That is why the Lord says,
"Turn to me now, while there is time.
Give me your hearts.
Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
Don't tear your clothing in your grief,
but tear your hearts instead.
Part of me is sorry that this is kinda of another 'not so uplifting' post. But only a part of me because the other part is so touched by this verse-- and am so happy that God led me to it. I nearly have tears as I write this (I could be a *bit* emotional....)
I want to focus on the last 2 lines-- "Don't tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead."
If you read the Old Testament, lots of times people got very upset and tore their clothes in grief. Mordecai did in Esther when King Xerxes ordered all Jews killed. It was a pretty common thing to do in grief. It was an outward symbol of an inward feeling.
It was mainly for show--- or it could be used in such a way.
Sometimes, people show grief outwardly because they feel they have too. I'm not saying that Mordecai did that, but sometimes people go through the motions of outward mourning because it is what you are 'supposed' to do. Some (not all) send Sympathy cards, send food, wear black more from tradition than from grief. Sure they are grieved-- but the outward symbols are more a sense of "what I'm supposed to do".
God doesn't care if you wear black at a funeral. It doesn't matter to him if you wear brown sackcloth and don't cut your hair. What he DOES care about is your heart.
The main thing I got out of these verses is that God cares about what is in your heart much more than how you show yourself outwardly. He focuses on the inside-- not on the outside. If you've done something wrong and feel bad about it, don't just go through the motions of someone who is sorry-- REALLY be sorry. REALLY 'tear your heart' and truly feel it inside. No one else has to know. It doesn't have to be a big production. But it means everything to God.
God Bless you :)