Whenever my brother and I did something wrong when we were growing up, our mother and/or father would ask in their sternest voice, “Are you sorry for what you did? Or are you just sorry you got caught?”
I thought of that question when I read Joel 2:12-13 recently.
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.
I was struck by the phrase, “rend your hearts and not your garments.” The one speaks of repentance; the other of remorse. The one is internal while the other is external. One reflects devotion to God while the other is merely a duty. The one is being sorry for what you did, while the other is being sorry you got caught.