November 12, 2009
I Choose Love!
John 15:12 "Love one another as I have loved you."
Friend To Friend
For many of us, the holidays not only usher in a time of celebration but a season of pain as well. Once again, we must face and deal with the hurt of old relationship wounds inflicted by some sandpaper person in our life. It may be a family member, a friend or even a mate or child that is at the center of the injury. They may even be coming to our house for the holidays! God's command to love one another like He loves us seems impossible to obey. It is - outside the strength and power of God. One of the greatest illustrations of God's unconditional love demonstrated by man is the story of Hosea (Hosea 3:1-5).
Hosea was married to a young woman named Gomer who was definitely a sandpaper person in his life. They had three children and seemed happy until Gomer was unfaithful to Hosea. Leaving him, she became a prostitute, selfishly clinging to her depraved desires while betraying Hosea's love and breaking the covenant of marriage. Hosea had every right to walk away from Gomer and sever his commitment to her. No one would have blamed him and most would have cheered him but God's love calls us up to higher choices, supernatural choices that demand supernatural action.
The marriage of Hosea and Gomer is meant to be a picture of our relationship with God, illustrating the stubborn and unwavering love of God for His children. It is a love that refuses to give up and will never end. Like Gomer, we have been unfaithful to God. We have become prostitutes of this world, depending on the wrong people and the wrong things, selling ourselves to unworthy desires and goals. We have run from Him and His love nailed to the cross, straight into the arms of our own inadequacies and selfish desires. We have even worshipped false gods, filling our lives and hearts with the clutter of people and things we reverence instead of worshipping the one true God. We must face the stark reality that anything or anyone standing between God and us is an idol. Like Gomer we have become comfortable in our sin, complacent in a disobedient lifestyle. In fact, we are quick to lavish condemnation on Gomer while we cherish and cling to our own pet sins. Our judgmental and hypocritical attitude is abrasive to the heart and nature of God.
Just as Hosea loved Gomer, God loves us unconditionally, right in the middle of our sin. Romans 5:8 is our hope and deliverance, "But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners" (NCV). The name "Hosea" means "salvation" and just like Hosea was Gomer's salvation, God is ours. He looks past our rebellious hearts filled with unfaithfulness, and pursues us. Like Hosea, God is eternally committed to us, refusing to give up until He brings us home. I love the words of Paul as he celebrates the security of his relationship with his God, "Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 8:39 (NLT).
C. S. Lewis says it well: "To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, and irredeemable. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is Hell." Mother Teresa said, "Love, to be real must cost! It must hurt! It must empty us of self!" The words of King David reveal the essence of love and forgiveness: "But King David answered, "No, I must pay the full price. I won't take anything that is yours and give it to the Lord. I won't give an offering that costs me nothing" 1 Chronicles 21:24 (ICB).
Hosea could have played it safe. Nowhere in scripture does it suggest that Gomer was ever repentant. Hosea had no guarantee that she would not do the very same thing again. In fact, he took a huge risk in bringing Gomer home. Can't you just hear his friends and family? "You deserve better, Hosea. I have to tell you that this makes no sense. I don't want to see you get hurt again. Walk away from her, Hosea. Taking her back is a big mistake."
In our relationships, especially with sandpaper people, what passes for true love is often little more than a convenient emotional arrangement. Someone is kind to us so we are kind in return. Someone treats us badly, so we don't get mad, we get even. Sound fair? Seem reasonable? It is - but only in human terms. God's unfailing love never gives up and goes far beyond human understanding or reasoning, refusing to settle for justice alone. God's love never gives up and insists on granting mercy.
Right now, celebrate the love and forgiveness of God in your life. Set the focus of your mind and heart on Him. Choose to love and forgive the person who has hurt you and then surrender your pain to your Father and let Him bring healing and restoration to your life.
Father, I come to You with a wounded heart knowing only You can offer healing and restoration. I now surrender my pain to You and ask that You replace it with Your unconditional and supernatural love. Help me see the person who has hurt me through Your eyes. Lord, I simply cannot do this on my own but I choose love. I choose forgiveness. This holiday season, I choose to honor You with the gift of obedience.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-6.
- Evaluate your attitude toward the difficult people in your life using these verses as your standard. How did you measure up?
- Go back over your "emotional books" for any old wound, hurt or pain that you have not really faced. Are you willing to deal with it now? Are you ready to surrender your pain to God and let Him love that difficult person through you?
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 every day during this holiday season and let the Holy Spirit write its truths upon your heart. Make the choice to love and forgive and God will empower that choice.
More From The Girlfriends
We all have sandpaper people in our life but they seem a bit more abrasive during the holidays. Get ready now! Mary's book Sandpaper People offers ten principles for dealing with the difficult people in your life. They are practical ... and they work because they are straight from God's Word. (Also available in CD and MP3 download)
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how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
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