When a person breaks an arm or a leg, if it isn’t set straight the bone may grow back crooked. It may even be necessary for the doctor to rebreak the bone in order to set it straight. It isn’t any easier when it’s our spirit that needs correction.
We have trouble thinking about our faith journey as bone-crushing. But that’s what the psalmist describes. Along the path of life, we have some serious breaking-and-mending work to do. At times we need to break bad habits, break out of narrow attitudes, make a clean break from unhealthy relationships.
We may need to mend our ways, our relationships, and even the threadbare social fabric that binds us one to another. Poet Robert Frost describes spring mending-time when neighbors walk the stone wall that marks the boundary between their properties to replace stones that may have fallen during the year.
When we join the psalmist crying, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me,” we admit that the choices we have made, the life we have drifted into, the spirit that we have invited into our hearts may be unacceptable to God. We may have wandered off from the way of life and truth. We may need God to help us break out of the confining and unhealthy way we have chosen and to mend what is torn or worn out.
It takes courage to change.

God, I have sinned and done what is evil in your sight. And yet I don’t want to change. Break me of my willful spirit so that I may grow true in your way. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Amen.

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