This past month has been an enlightening one for me. Coming off the back of Easter, I was notified one of my closest friends had come down with COVID. In the desire to care for my friend, I reached out.
However, this felt like the first time we attempted communication in months. Over the past few months, our communication had been sporadic and brief, and so when this came up, my attempts to care felt a little stilted.
Upon reaching out to my friend, a part of me grew resentful. I’d always been told relationships were a two-way street, so whenever break down happens, its always two parties at fault – either one could have attempted reconciliation.
So why should I take all of the blame for our relationship breaking down? They were equally responsible for this!
Therein lay the seeds of the fall again – blame shifting, rather than owning my own negligence.
As I processed this with God, he reminded me that this breakdown is but a poor reflection of my relationship with Him. How often do we take him for advantage? How often do we do our own thing, forgetting to acknowledge him, only to come back to him at some later point asking for help?
God gives a beautiful illustration of what it’s like to love us as human beings in the book of Hosea. Yahweh commands his prophet, Hosea, to marry a promiscuous woman (who may or may not be a prostitute) – someone Hosea knows will not be faithful to their marriage vows.
The wife continues to chase after other men, even to the point of going into slavery due to her debt. Hosea, in a spectacular act of love and grace, buys her freedom and takes her back. (Hosea chapters 1-3)
We are Hosea’s wife. I am Hosea’s wife. I’m unfaithful to God whenever I chase after other things to satisfy me. I’m unfaithful to God when I choose to numb myself by filling my life with noise and busyness, rather than giving God space to work out the difficulties that have arisen with him.
I’m unfaithful to God when I choose to ignore Him (consciously or not), and to enjoy the blessings He’s given, rather than glorifying Him.
Yet God doesn’t give up on me. He doesn’t give up on you. Much like Hosea, he seeks us in our wanderings, and ransoms us from the clutches of these things that would destroy us. These things that promise fulfilment, but only give us emptiness.
God is such a loving husband to his cheating wife (the church, i.e. you and I), that he continuously, and graciously corrects her, to bring her back into relationship with Him.
If this is our God, if this is my Lord and Sovereign Ruler over my life, who goes out of his way for my sake, who am I to withhold love, affection, care, and reconciliation to anyone? Who am I to be bitter and resentful to my friend, when I have the power in my hands to attemptrestoring our relationship?
As Paul says:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sinfor us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
(2 Corinthians chapter 5, verses 17-21)
How can we, who have been reconciled to a loving God at such a cost, let things tear down relationships? One of sin’s primary effects was the relational breakdown between humans.
Since we have been redeemed, as Paul says, let us first reconcile ourselves and others to God, and, then to each other. From being loved by a loving Father and husband, we now know what it’s like to love others. Let us make the effort to love and be loved, despite the distance that may stand between us.
I disciple university students in the University of Canterbury through the Navigators while currently working towards a Master of Divinity. Outside of this, my wife and I enjoy rock climbing and going on adventures with our dog.