The studies in this book examine challenges we face as we try to forgive and reconcile with those who have hurt us. Let’s face it–sometimes it’s easier to be hurt or angry, to hold onto our sense of justice and pride, rather than let go. But both forgiveness and reconciliation are disciplines necessary for the spiritual health of individuals and communities. In practicing them, we see the reality of God’s forgiveness and his offer of reconciliation to us.
This series of posts will follow my inward thoughts as I go through the book chapter by chapter working through the ideas listed above.
Hosea’s relationship with Gomer paints “a vivid picture of Yahweh
tenderly wooing them back into relationship with him.”
In my own personal relationship with God, I think one thing that I struggle with the most is recognizing God’s unconditional, never-ending love for me. As I reflect daily on my mistakes and sins, I have a hard time picking myself back up from the ground and seeing myself as a beautiful creation of God. For this reason, when I read the phrase, “Yahweh tenderly wooing,” in Chapter 1 of Reconciliation, I felt my heart soften and the hole that was lacking love fill up with warmth. So often in my spiritual life I find myself focusing too much on the bad things I’ve done, and feeling guilt for them. I have a hard time remembering to look at the positive things.
With this being said, something tells me that I’m probably not the only one with this problem, and that many people struggle with seeing God’s incredible love for them. This is why I’d like to dedicate this blog post to remembering how much God loves us, even if we’re not perfect.
Yeah, it’s important to repent of our sins. Yeah, it’s important to ask for forgiveness and humble ourselves before the Lord. But honestly, I think that a critical part of our relationship with God is reveling in the healthy, peaceful, joyful love that Christ offers us. In the same way that the Lord tenderly wooed Gomer and Israel despite their terrible offenses against him, he also enjoys continually doing the same thing for us every day. The Lord loves us so much: our messy, dirty hearts and all.
As you go about your week, look for God’s love in the little things: biting into a surprisingly juicy and delicious strawberry while eating lunch, a beautiful flower blooming in your front yard, an especially sunny day, a fun conversation with a co-worker or friend. While those things may seem random and completely unrelated to God, I feel strongly that those moments represent the love God has for us.
“Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD,
who have no confidence in the proud
or in those who worship idols.
O LORD my God, you have performed many wonders for us.
Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
You have no equal.
If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
I would never come to the end of them.”
Psalm 40: 4-5