2 April 2011Hosea 14:1-9
"Take words with you and return to the Lord, say to him, 'Take away all guilt; accept that which is good, and we will offer the fruit of our lips.'" (v. 2)
Hosea ends with a call to repentance and this is also how this
week ends. The unrepentant people of Israel are told to come back
to God, not with animal sacrifices but with sincere words of
apology. God does not demand payment, nor is there any punishment:
all God seeks is a heartfelt understanding of the wrong that has
been done and the intention to get it right in the future.
As humans we can find this kind of unconditional forgiveness confusing. We are inclined towards vengeance and repaying debt. We have a justice system which seems to be about punishing offenders instead of solving their problems, and if anyone suggests that justice should include reform then they tend to be castigated in the press.
But this is not the example God sets. To God 'sorry' is enough as long as it is accompanied by a change. God supports that change and holds our hand as we journey into this new life.
When people get it wrong and hurt you, to what extent are you willing to accept their apology graciously?
Part of repentance is forgiveness, not just of the other person but also of ourselves. Take time to forgive yourself and realise how special you are to God.
This week has been about obedience and repentance. Spend a few moments to listen to the instructions God has for you today.