To be contrite is to be deeply sorry for having behaved wrongly. Because of the frailty of man, he could make mistakes from time to time. “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” (Proverbs 20:9) The way to get forgiveness is to acknowledge one’s faults and refrain from doing such things again. (Proverbs 28:13,14) “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.” (Deuteronomy 10:16) In time of old, when one is in deep sorrow, he tears his clothes. But in course of time it became a formality which hypocrites use to deceive people. This trend continues today as there are many people who claim to be sorry for what they had done whereas in their heart of hearts that is not the case. It is sincere contriteness that leads to repentance that God accepts. God declared through Joel the prophet: “Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.” – Joel 2:12, 13.
Text: “And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched. – Numbers 11: 1, 2.
Comment: To have a feeling of regret for one’s actions or misdeeds is evidence of a lively conscience or a heart at work. Such ones are truly contrite, that is they show remorse, penitence, shame or repentance for the evil they had done. This is the opposite of the character of those with dead consciences or to put it in the words of Apostle Paul, those whose conscience is “seared with a hot iron”. – 1 Timothy 4:1,2.
The Almighty God, the Great Provider for His people, showed kindness to the children of Israel despite their stubborness and disregard for Him. On an occasion in the wilderness, they complained and rejected the LORD’S gracious provision for them saying they were hungry for certain foods they took for granted in Egypt. (Numbers 11:5,6). But they soon realised their folly, showed remorse, and begged Moses to intervene. – Numbers 11:2.
The Almighty God, being a Merciful Father, is not interested in the death of anyone. He said: “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? – Ezekiel 18:21-23.