Psalm 51:17 (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)
Broken spirit means "to be overwhelmed with sorrow." Contrite heart means "to be completely penitent, feeling remorse and affected by guilt, deeply regretful and wishing to atone for sin." "Broken spirit" and "contrite heart" are virtually the same thing. This is further confirmation that spirit is used as an aspect of mind that generates a wide diversity of activity, including, but not restricted to, conduct. It must be clean and right if the conduct that is produced is going to be beneficial. This alludes, then, to our motivations. What is in our heart? What is in our spirit? If our heart and spirit are not right, our motivations will not be right, and our conduct will have the aim of taking advantage, of controlling, of manipulating to one's own ends, self-centeredly rather than selflessly.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part 4)