One More Shot At Forgiveness

Hosea 1:2-7 (NIV): When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.” So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. Then the Lord said to Hosea, “Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. In that day I will break Israel’s bow in the Valley of Jezreel.” Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord said to Hosea, “Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”), for I will no longer show love to Israel, that I should at all forgive them. Yet I will show love to Judah; and I will save them—not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but I, the Lord their God, will save them.”

Hosea 3:1 (NIV): The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”

Matthew 6:15 (NIV): But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV):  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Forgive me in advance for the artist whose song inspired this blog. I admit to not being a Justin Bieber fan. Usually when he would come on the radio, I would start scanning the dial for anything that wasn’t Justin Bieber. It didn’t matter what the song was or what it was about, I was not going to listen to it because I was sick of hearing about, looking at, or seeing pictures of Justin Bieber in various states of undress around the internet. So when I first heard the song “Sorry,” I really hoped it was by someone else who sounded a lot like him. No such luck. It was by Bieber. Not only is it sung by him, he is listed as one of the writers of the song. Which means that not only did I have to pay attention to the song, I had to act like when it came on, it wasn’t Justin Bieber singing it, because acting like I like it would go against my anti-Bieber campaign’s integrity.

No matter how much I want to protest against Justin Bieber, I can’t argue the content of the song, and that the song has a really, really important message, especially if we are going to be people who claim to believe in forgiveness and honesty…but we all too often don’t abide by it ourselves. Sure, when it’s our turn, we want to be the ones who are easily forgiven, but when someone comes to us, just like in the course of the song, we want to hesitate to extend what we so easily request.

At Sanctuary, we are two Sundays away from completing a series on the book of Hosea. It’s been an interesting read and an even more interesting experience in the Word, because God reveals a lot to us about His nature in Hosea. Here we have the story of a prophet who is asked to, of all things, take a wife who defies every single law on the books in Old Testament times: a prostitute. Not only is she a prostitute, she is an active prostitute, which means the children that are born to the couple have a paternity question. After they separate, God tells Hosea to go and get Gomer, to bring her back, pay the marital price for her again, and to love her, despite the way that she has lived.

Nowhere in the book do we see Hosea’s personal feelings about what God asked him to do. I am sure that God’s requirement was met with hostility, with frustration and protests, especially as they had child after child, all of whom were named in regard to the circumstances that existed in Israel at that time. Every time Hosea called one of his children, every time he called his wayward wife, and every time he looked around at his home surroundings, he was constantly reminded of the unfaithful prophecy he was called to live out in his own life.

Hosea reveals something else to us, however, that we easily overshadow if we only look at what Hosea did from an earthly perspective. Hosea lived out the grace and power of forgiveness in his own calling, through the steps he had to take as directed by God. He got to experience, if only for a little while, what it was like to forgive as God forgives.

We often talk about God as being the God of second chances, and this is true, plus some. He doesn’t just stop at the second chance. He is the God of the third chance, the fourth chance, the fifth, and beyond. Just like Hosea didn’t treat Gomer or his children in the way that the coldness of the law might have dictated, neither does God treat us in that manner. No, when we come to Him, He knows that when we reflect on our mistakes and them “not being that bad,” we’ve done the same thing a couple of hundred times, we’ve done the wrong thing time and time again, and that we need just one more shot at forgiveness.

Our earthly relationships aren’t much different. If we want to be people of God who walk in His power and embrace the Spirit so He can change our lives, we have to transform through forgiveness. What we receive, we have to give. It’s perfectly fine to put up boundaries and limits in your life that make sure you don’t fall into the same traps or snares of other people. It’s perfectly fine to say this is where the line is, and uphold that in your life. It’s not fine to harbor resentment toward people, especially if they come forward and ask for your forgiveness. If we want to go somewhere with the Lord, if we want to move forward in our faith, then we need to take a lesson from God – and Hosea – and, as much as it pains me to say it – Justin Bieber…and give that one more shot at forgiveness.

 

Sorry (As performed by Justin Bieber)

Songwriters
BLOOD DIAMOND, JULIA MICHAELS, JUSTIN BIEBER, JUSTIN TRANTER, SKRILLEX SKRILLEX

Ooh, ooh
Ooh, ooh
You gotta go and get angry at all of my honesty
You know I try but I don’t do too well with apologies
I hope I don’t run out of time, could someone call a referee?
‘Cause I just need one more shot at forgiveness
I know you know that I made those mistakes maybe once or twice
By once or twice I mean maybe a couple a hundred times
So let me, oh let me redeem, oh redeem, oh myself tonight
‘Cause I just need one more shot at second chances

Yeah, is it too late now to say sorry?
‘Cause I’m missing more than just your body
Oh, is it too late now to say sorry?
Yeah I know that I let you down
Is it too late to say I’m sorry now?

Ooh, ooh
I’m sorry, yeah
Ooh, ooh
Sorry, yeah
Ooh, ooh
Sorry
Yeah I know that I let you down
Is it too late to say I’m sorry now?
Ooh, ooh

I’ll take every single piece of the blame if you want me to
But you know that there is no innocent one in this game for two
I’ll go, I’ll go and then you go, you go out and spill the truth
Can we both say the words and forget this?

Yeah, is it too late now to say sorry?
‘Cause I’m missing more than just your body
Oh, is it too late now to say sorry?
Yeah I know that I let you down
Is it too late to say I’m sorry now?

I’m not just trying to get you back on me
‘Cause I’m missing more than just your body
Is it too late now to say sorry?
Yeah I know that I let you down
Is it too late to say I’m sorry now?

Ooh, ooh
I’m sorry, yeah
Ooh, ooh
Sorry, yeah
Ooh, ooh
Sorry
Yeah I know that I let you down
Is it too late to say I’m sorry now?
Ooh, ooh
I’m sorry, yeah
Ooh, ooh
Sorry, yeah
Ooh, ooh
Sorry
Yeah I know that I let you down
Is it too late to say I’m sorry now?

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