I was reading a devotional a few days ago with my husband, something we do regularly before he heads out to work. The message could not have been more relevant to the reaction to the results of the recent national election. It was written by R.J. Rushdoony many years ago, but remains a timely word for us today. It is entitled, “Contrition.” He notes,
Contrition is not a word we hear much today. In fact, it has an old-fashioned ring to it, and some people are vague as to its meaning. The word “contrition” means being penitent for our sins. The root of the word comes from the Latin and old French, from a word meaning to bruise or to grind. In other words, our sins hurt other people (and offend God). There is therefore no true repentance, no contrition, until what we have done begins to hurt us, to pain us, as we realize what we have done.
America needs a huge dose of contrition. Not only for the obvious sins of abortion and the many overseas wars waged for profit, but also for the devaluation of our money and the rampant overreach of civil government into the affairs of the family, the church, and private associations. What is often overlooked when it comes to contrition, according to Rushdoony, is what happens when we practice it.
Now God says something amazing about contrition: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit” (Isa. 57:15). God equates His two great dwelling places: the heaven of heavens and “a contrite and humble spirit.” This is why true contrition is so remarkable. It brings the Almighty into the spirit of a man who feels contrition, who is hurt, because of the hurt he has caused to others, and the hurt he renders to God’s cause and Kingdom.
It is time for faithful believers to come to the fore and be outwardly and deliberately vocal about whom we serve and why we do so. The only way a divided people can come together is when every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all!
It begins when God’s priorities as outlined in His law-word become our priorities. It continues as we stand in an uncompromising fashion to the Lord’s requirements. It is not enough to agree with the Bible, while failing to act on its directives. We need to repent of making salvation merely personal rather than cultural. Jesus is much more than my personal Savior. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. If we fail in this, we are most decidedly taking His name in vain.
Rushdoony sums it up well when he concludes,
This is a time when personal and national contrition is very seriously needed. Pride and arrogance have ruled too many; to hurt others has become a goal for too many. Humor has changed from being happy laughter to savage hostilities, and our comedians vie in trying to demean others. Our youth delight in “put-downs” and insolence, and ugliness has become a way of life for many.
It is time for contrition.