“The God ordered me, ‘Start all over: Love your wife again, your wife who’s in bed with her latest boyfriend, your cheating wife. Love her the way I, God, love the Israelite people, even as they flirt and party with every god that takes their fancy.’
I did it. I paid good money to get her back. It cost me the price of a slave. Then I told her, “From now on you’re living with me. No more whoring, no more sleeping around.
You’re living with me and I’m living with you.”
Hosea 3: 1-3, The Message
This one sentence is most interesting, “Love her the way I, God, love the Israelite people, EVEN as they flirt and party with every god that takes their fancy.”
When Hosea was writing about his dialogue with God as he dealt with his wife’s unfaithfulness he had to be reluctant to do what God said.
“Start all over again. It doesn’t matter how hurt you are. How betrayed you are. All of that is over . . . start ALL OVER and love her AGAIN. Love her the way that I love the people. EVEN AS . . .”
While the emphasis on the words above is my own, it speaks to the nature of God.
Starting all over . . .
Willing to give it a shot again . . .
Even though . . .
Even as . . .
We make so many excuses and reasons that we can’t love again.
So many reasons why we can’t forgive.
We all have things that “tickle our fancy!” gods we worship (like stuff, status, job, money, relationships with the “in crowd”) . . . but the bottom line is God loves us in spite of all that.
There is nothing that we can do to separate us from that love!
Yet, there is a BUT!
It is a powerful image Hosea uses . . . whoring and sleeping around.
An act that was often punishable by death was encouraged to be ignored.
Not only does this describe for us how very scandalous and radical God’s love is for us.
It also shows us the love we are to have for one another.
That’s the “but” of the story.
Just as God loves all people the way God told Hosea to love his wife, God calls us and expects us to love others in that same way!
That is difficult to do! But – we are called to do it anyway.
In offering that love to others, I can assure you, you will find you are even more able to experience God’s love.
Seth Godin, a best-selling author and entrepreneur, gives practical insight into how to do this.
“The other person is always right
Always right about feelings.
About the day he just experienced.
About the fears (appropriate and ill-founded) in his life.
About the narrative going on, unspoken, in his head.
About what he likes and what he dislikes.
You’ll need to travel to this place of ‘right’ before you have any chance at all of actual communication.”
If we are going love people the way that God has called us to, we have to travel to this place of ‘right.’
In order to let go of some of the “crap” of Christmas, what if we attempt this? Loving people with scandalous love and forgiveness . . . even seeing things from their eyes and looking at it as if they are right?