Have you ever been so hurt by someone, maybe even another Christian, that you wondered how you could ever move past it? It could be that you found out a trusted friend was gossiping about you to another friend the night you couldn't make Bible study. Maybe you were counting on someone to be there for you during a hard time and they weren't. Or maybe it was something where the pain cut much deeper. Whatever the situation, we have all had times in our lives where we've been rejected, let down, and needed to extend forgiveness. But how can we possibly forgive when what's been done to us seems unforgivable? How can we extend grace when all we want to do is run away and bury the pain that they've caused?
I was recently reminded of the book of Hosea and had forgotten how much I LOVE this book of the Bible.
Hosea was a prophet in Israel whose message from the Lord was for the people of Israel to stop worshipping idols and turn back to the one true God. One day, God told Hosea that he was to find a wife, and she just so happened to be the promiscuous Gomer.
Hosea humbled himself in obedience to the Lord and married her, despite her reputation. Talk about a scandal! Over and over, Gomer repeatedly broke Hosea's heart. Hosea's love meant nothing to Gomer, and all the time he would hear rumors of her going off with other men. Gomer eventually got herself into serious trouble and ended up being sold as a slave. But God saw her, and told Hosea to extend grace by purchasing her back. By redeeming her. And he did.
Does this sound familiar?
As I think about this beautiful story of redemption and grace, I am reminded of something.
I am Gomer.
The people who have hurt us are Gomer.
We're ALL Gomer.
Hosea is a prime example of choosing to extend grace when it's hard. And so is God. Hosea was a faithful husband while Gomer was an unfaithful wife. He gave Gomer grace after she continuously betrayed him and broke his heart, just as God gives us grace each and every day when we stumble and fall. Hosea extended grace knowing very well that she may wander from him again, and Jesus died for us on the cross KNOWING our human nature and that we would wander also. Yet, he loved us enough to do it anyway. Though we are unfaithful, God remains faithful.
I can think of so many instances in my life where I've held grudges, judged other Christians who I've thought were being hypocritical in situations (as if I'm perfect and never make mistakes!🙄) But I can also think of situations where I've been hurt so deeply and wondered how I could ever forgive. However, as Christians, we are called to extend grace just as we have received grace. Is it easy? No! But it is God's command for us.
Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
So when we've been hurt by a friend, a coworker is rude to us, or we are just having a bad morning and have every reason to be upset, let's remember to choose grace. Even when it's hard. Because just as Hosea extended Grace despite his hurts, and just as God gives us grace each and every day, we are to choose grace as well. So together let's pray for grace, pray for healing, and pray for a change of heart. Let's choose to displays grace upon amazing grace, just as God does for us.
For from His fullness we have all received,
grace upon grace.
Want to study the book of Hosea more deeply? Click HERE for an awesome study on Hosea by Jennifer Rothschild!