You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. Malachi 2:13

They weep and wail but don’t repent. There’s no change of heart.

Often we confuse remorse with repentance. Someone can be deeply distressed with a relationship but refuse to change their attitude towards those involved. We think their tears mean they’re sorry for their actions but instead, we find their tears are merely childish. They’re sorry they’ve been found out or they didn’t get their own way. They’re upset because they’re in pain, not because they‘ve caused pain.

Through Malachi, God tells his people that they haven’t changed their attitude towards him. They’re simply upset because they have lost his blessings. They want to continue to bring substandard offerings to God (1:8) and expect him to be pleased.

It would be like a young girl seeing a beautiful necklace in a jewellery shop and hinting to her boyfriend that she would like it as a birthday present. He prefers one that is less expensive and less attractive in her opinion. When her birthday arrives she finds he has bought her the necklace of his choice and not hers. Furthermore, he expects his girlfriend to be pleased with the gift.

Pleasing God is about honouring his choices, not ours. If we desire to please him we change our minds, not with a show of tears but with genuine repentance. Repentance that both acknowledges our past poor behaviour and expresses a desire to act better in the future.

In our relationships with each other and our relationship with God remember, remorse is not repentance.