The Sacrifice of a Contrite Heart


The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit – a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Psalms 51:17

How ashamed King David must have felt once he had realized the magnitude of the sin he had committed with Bathsheba. He was a man after GOD’S very heart; yet, he had hands guilty for adultery and innocent bloodshed. There are countless examples of episodes of corruption, human nature, and sin throughout David’s life – from the shepherd boy who slayed Goliath and on throughout his reign as king. However, in Psalms 51, David releases a prayer of repentance, and within verse 17, the reader can find one of the most intimate passages that reveal a pathway to GOD’s heart. To know that this Psalm was written before the birth of CHRIST – before the plan of salvation based on THE ONE TRUE SACRIFCE – makes IT all the more magnificent! You see, throughout the OLD TESTAMENT, one can find passage after passage depicting the grueling rituals that took place as priests fulfilled the OLD TESTAMENT requirements of sacrifice; yet, it is interrupted with a song from a broken king who realizes there is no sacrifice great enough to offer THE MIGHTY ONE once you have sinned against HIM. David orchestrates a hymn of humble repentance – understanding the depth of his transgression, he presents to God – not human offerings, but a humble and broken heart, fully aware of the magnitude of his err. David’s heart became fully aware (contrite) of his sin. He realized the utter separation he faced from HIS FATHER because of it. “Contrite” stems from the Latin word “contritus,” meaning ground to pieces…wow, can I relate!

I have too often, sometimes reluctantly, sometimes not, found myself in the same predicament as David. Proud in my accomplishments, basking in my recognition. Then, plop – on my face in the middle of my stinking sty – once again, facing sins of my flesh, sins of my heart, strongholds…too often, my heart inflates, and I am overcome with my self-awareness – understanding there are possibilities I might be able to get around the consequences of my errors. Then, the HOLY SPIRIT convicts me. I realize that my heart no longer belongs to me; it was crucified with CHRIST; IT IS HIM WHO lives through me.

I’m in need of a bridge. My realization of the gap between who I am and who GOD desires me to be crushes everything I know. I fall to my knees, genuinely broken. Now I know, again, that I am not enough. My attitude, my thoughts, my desires, my actions – everything becomes ground to pieces under THE AUTHORITY and THE STANDARD of THE WORD OF GOD. I become truly contrite and absolutely aware that I am in need of a savior. JESUS becomes THE BRIDGE.

When we cross THE BRIDGE GOD has provided – between our proud heart and a broken humble life in need of God’s redemptive power, HE never turns HIS back. GOD doesn’t ask us to burn incense, sacrifice animals, or drink human blood. HE offers us HIS SON. Once we recognize that – how can we be anything but broken and contrite?

How many times have I messed up –

found myself in need of YOUR grace?

Instead of falling on my knees in repentance,

I just tried to save face.

I brushed off the tears of disappointment

and just rerouted my direction –

instead of seeking the sound of YOUR VOICE

and receiving YOUR gentle correction.

LORD, so many times that I screw up –

I overlook the depth of the consequences I face;

I fail to realize how bad it could be –


My heart’s in dire need of a tune-up;

I’m afraid it’s missing quite a few screws.

Instead of trying to be my own mechanic,

IT IS YOU, LORD now WHO I choose.

I’ve ground every gear hidden inside of myself;

I’ve tried everything I know how;

I keep finding myself in the same places;

I’m in need of a new shifter now.

Carve out the erosion of sin in my heart –

cut away everything that isn’t helping it run;

take the whole thing out, if YOU must, GOD;

I’m willing to become completely undone.

I’m broken in two from the fact that

I had forgotten YOUR WORDS from the start –

when instead of obeying what YOU had requested,

I gave in to my old heart.

That sinful nature, I choose to lay down –

the pride, the lust, and the want –

I give it all to my Heavenly King

and become transformed by HIS SON.

HE takes my heart of humility;

HE takes all of my brokenness;

and turns it into fertile ground –

which HE then IS ABLE to bless!


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