Saturday, August 8, 2009

Marital Forgiveness: Bravely Opting-In

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Far too often, as couples, we find unjustified reasons to hold marital indiscretions over our spouse’s heads as if we have or will never fall prey ourselves. Certainly some indiscretions are worse than others however, does not everyone deserve forgiveness? Repeatedly, we make the mistake of believing that we and not God determine what’s just/unjust, good/bad and acceptable/unacceptable in our relationships.

As I read the Book of Hosea today (which is a very deep book), more specifically, Chapter 3, where Hosea, whose name means “salvation or deliverer,” was told by God to go out and find, redeem and reconcile his adulterous wife her back to himself, I thought of how difficult it was for him to make sense of all of this; could I have or be him? Did he find this just, good and acceptable? From the very beginning, God told Hosea that his chosen wife was going to run after other men, become a prostitute and even have children with them. OUCH!!!!!! Imagine being told before you got married how difficult it was going to be; how unreasonable, uncompromising, unfaithful – both physically and spiritually, how selfish, uncaring, distant, unkind, mean, your spouse was going to be. Would we bravely opt-in or fearfully opt-out?

As I’ve said before, Kevin and I both agree that there are no “do over’s” for our first year of marriage. Without question, had we known what it was going to be like; how we were going to constantly hurt one another and abuse our love for one another, we would have fearfully, opted-out, all because our limited intellect wouldn’t be allowed to determine the justice, the good and the acceptable. When Kevin and I first began dating he used to say when referring to our relationship, “I want easy,” this first year was the total opposite. He no longer seeks easy, in close to 7 years marriage; we’ve learned that this ministry is no place for easy, but a place to bravely opt-in; to offer forgiveness freely, unselfishly and lovingly.

Hosea had the meaning of unwavering forgiveness, repentance, redemption, love and most importantly obedience seared on his heart and we should to.

Excellent pointers from Hosea:
Hosea: His sensitivity toward the sinful condition of his countrymen and his sensitivity toward the loving heart of God fitted him for this difficult ministry. What do you have sensitivity for? Line it next to your marriage and determine if the sensitivities are equal or does one receive more attention than the other?
Hosea: God’s solution for Hosea’s difficult ministry was to let the prophet be his own sermon. Are you willing to be your own sermon? Are you willing to sacrificially walk the gospel?
BIG LESSON: We cannot separate our witness and our ministries from our lives. Hosea’s strongest sermon was his relationship with his wife. The source of his power for preaching was his home and his family. How difficult is it to come up short on our sermon when we separate our witness and ministry from our lives? What is the source of your power for preaching? Do you have a source?

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