Heart Bowed Down

My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness, I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning.
PSALM 38:5-6
Heart Bowed Down
Just as wounds and swellings of the body decay, fester, and stink, so also the evil sores of human nature get worse and begin to stink if they are not treated and healed daily with the ointment of grace and the water of the Word of God. Now others go on smugly, not heeding these sores, just as though they were well. . .. But it is foolishness when a man does not know himself but imagines he is altogether well. The arrows, however, reveal this foolishness that man may realize how blind he has been in knowing himself. Hence this is the meaning: When I recognized my own foolishness and lack of self-understanding, I also recognized how very foul and stinking my wounds really are. Formerly, in my foolishness, I did not see this. Therefore I am utterly bowed down and prostrate. . .. All the day I go about mourning. These are true signs of real repentance for sin, just as the publican in the Gospel did not dare raise his eyes (Luke 18:13) but considered himself evil and bowed down to the ground, more with his heart than with his body.

From Seven Penitential Psalms, on Psalm 38 (Luther's Works 14:158)
May 29
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