What Does Full Forgiveness Look Like?

The story of Hosea’s relationship with his wife is truly amazing.  I’ve pointed out how hurtful it must have been for Hosea to have to choose a wife whom he knew would be unfaithful.  That would violate the basic spirit of trust between man and wife.  Can it be overcome?

‘The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”  So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley.  Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you.”  For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol.  Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.’  — Hosea 3:1-5

There is a deep lesson to be learned here.  Even when the most intimate of relationships is broken and violated, there is room for forgiveness.  The life of Hosea is meant to display exactly that point.  His life is an analogy to the trust that we break with our God when we sin and look toward other “gods”.  We can go very far down the path of separation from God, but He will still provide a means to be FULLY restored.  He does not mean it to be a repaired relationship where the previous sin is always hanging over our heads.  He intends it to be a state of COMPLETE forgiveness, and renewed love – as if we were virgin spouses with no history of straying thoughts or deeds.  I find that to be very encouraging.  God can FULLY forgive.


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