What is love? Part 4
Being married isn’t always easy. There have been nights where I’ve been lying in my bed fighting my own thoughts. The battle goes something like this:
Selfish Dan: I can’t believe this! I don’t deserve to be treated this way.
Loving Dan: God has given me a chance to mirror His unconditional love to my wife!
Selfish Dan: I’m tired of this battle! Why does it have to be so hard?
Loving Dan: I’ve been given this struggle as a way to sand off the rough (code word for selfish and sinful!) parts of me so I can be more like Christ.
Selfish Dan: I don’t want to be more like Christ right now! I want to feel better!
Loving Dan: I chose to love. I chose to pursue even when I don’t get what I think I need.
Selfish Dan: This time I’m going to wait for her to initiate reconciliation and ask for forgiveness. I’m tired of feeling like I’m always the one who is wrong.
Loving Dan: Christ pursued me, loved me, and chose to provide forgiveness for me when I was far from Him. Who am I to refuse that same thing to my wife!?
Selfish Dan: But…
Loving Dan: Quiet! I’m trying to go to sleep!!
If you’ve ever had a similar battle with yourself then you can totally relate to Hosea. Last week we looked at how love can be painful. Gomer left him for the love of another man. Crushed, wounded, and heart-broken, Hosea starts to rebuild his life without his wife.
The 4th thing we learn about love from Hosea’s life is this:
Love is FORGIVING (Hosea 2:14-3:3)
In the middle of Hosea’s pain and suffering, God gives him probably the hardest task he’s ever been handed by anyone. The task? Go get Gomer and bring her back home.
Hosea was commanded by God to forgive Gomer and redeem her to himself. She did not ask for his forgiveness and come begging for his mercy. Instead, he had to go out and sacrificially buy her back. She was enslaved by her sin. Hosea could have felt justified in leaving her in her desperate state because of the pain and hurt he had endured. It would have seemed “fair” to any objective onlooker. But in God’s eyes forgiveness is more important than fairness.
God chose forgiveness over fairness for us. We often abandon Him for our own passions and lusts yet He is always there for us, wooing us back to Himself. He is full of mercy and grace, slow to anger and abounding in love. His justice demands payment for our sin and His mercy and love stand in judgement for us. His love for us drives His desire to forgive us, even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He forgave us. We can forgive others.
Questions to think about:
1) How often do I need forgiveness? Daily? Hourly? Right now?
2) Do I wait until someone else approaches me or do I lovingly pursue them?
3) Am I holding something against my spouse right now that I need to extend forgiveness for?
4) When was the last time I dropped to my knees in thankfulness for God’s forgiveness in my life?