January 22, 2015
When You Don’t Really Want to Forgive
The LORD said to me again, ‘Go, show your love to a woman loved by someone else, who has been unfaithful to you. In the same way the LORD loves the people of Israel, even though they worship other gods and love to eat the raisin cakes.’ So I bought her for six ounces of silver and ten bushels of barley. Then I told her, ‘You must wait for me for many days. You must not be a prostitute, and you must not have sexual relations with any other man. I will act the same way toward you.’ In the same way Israel will live many days without a king or leader, without sacrifices or holy stone pillars, and without the holy vest or an idol. After this, the people of Israel will return to the LORD their God and follow him and the king from David's family. In the last days, they will turn in fear to the LORD, and he will bless them (Hosea 3:1-5, NCV).
Friend to Friend
True love is strong, unconditional – God’s love – a love that we cannot understand or explain in human terms. The life of the Old Testament prophet, Hosea, powerfully illustrates this kind of love.
Hosea was married to Gomer and together they had three children. When Gomer was unfaithful to Hosea, he had every right to walk away. But love that never fails calls us up to higher choices that are beyond human reasoning. Supernatural choices demand supernatural action and sacrifice.
Hosea 3:2 “So I bought her for six ounces of silver and ten bushels of barley” (NCV).
Think about it. Hosea was the one who had been wronged and humiliated. He was the one following God, but he was also the one called to sacrifice.
We misunderstand what sacrifice really means. Sacrifice is a mirror reflecting our own pride and sin. Godly sacrifice calls us to lay down all sense of human justice or fairness, allowing God to work in and through us to love others.
Hosea chose to sacrifice his pride. Gomer may have been sleeping with one or more of Hosea’s friends or, at the very least, one of his neighbors. Hosea had to swallow his pride and go to her in love and forgiveness. If I had been in Hosea’s shoes, I would have been more likely to respond with anger and revenge. Hosea chose to sacrifice everything to redeem a woman who did not deserve sacrifice or redemption. It is the perfect illustration of what Jesus did for us when He died on the cross.
Hosea chose to sacrifice his rights. Gomer broke the covenant of marriage. Biblically, Hosea had every justification to divorce Gomer. He could have tossed her out and turned her children against her, stripping her life of every good thing. Hosea could have destroyed Gomer, and no one would have blamed him. Instead, Hosea took the initiative and went to Gomer, offering forgiveness and love. That kind of forgiveness is so hard for me to understand.
“So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God” (Matthew 5:23, NLT).
If we know someone has something against us and we refuse to deal with it, nothing we do or say will count in Kingdom work. God always seeks restoration and reconciliation and commands us to look past what seems like a logical reaction to the highest obedience we can offer.
There is one more very important step in learning to truly forgive. Don’t miss the rest of Hosea and Gomer’s story in my next devotion.
Father, I am so tired of holding on to the pain in my life. I want to forgive those who have hurt me and learn how to let go of the pain and walk on. Today, I lay down my pride and my rights. I will not seek revenge or retaliation. Instead, I choose to love my enemies and bless those who have harmed me. Please give me the strength and power to honor you as I step out in obedience.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read and meditate on the following verses:
Matthew 5:23-24 (NLT) "So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you … leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.”
Make a list of the sins in your life that need the forgiveness of God. Ask God to forgive you for each one. If you have sinned against someone else, be willing to take the first step of reconciliation. If someone has sinned against you, choose to forgive them. Go to them in love, seeking restoration.
More from the Girlfriends
Do you believe it really is possible to forgive? Mary’s MP3 "The Power of Forgiveness" is the message of God's power to forgive and God's plan for unleashing that power in our lives. You will learn how to understand what forgiveness is in order to learn and practice the art of confrontation, choose to take the initiative in forgiving in order to experience emotional, mental and spiritual freedom, let go of the hurt in order to build healthy relationships today, and make forgiveness a habit so that revenge will never have a foothold in your life.
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