I’m going to let you in on something that I struggle with. It’s a sin that I have a very hard time getting victory over. I know it’s a sin. I confess it, but I have yet to conquer it. It’s been a problem in my life for a very long time, and I would appreciate it if you would pray for me about it. I’m serious.
What’s the sin? It’s the sin of unforgiveness. I was reminded of it near the end of our reading today. I am really just dumbfounded sometimes by God’s willingness to forgive.
Listen again to verses 14 through 16:
14This is what the Lord says: “As for all my wicked neighbors who seize the inheritance I gave my people Israel, I will uproot them from their lands and I will uproot the people of Judah from among them. 15But after I uproot them, I will again have compassion and will bring each of them back to their own inheritance and their own country. 16And if they learn well the ways of my people and swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives’—even as they once taught my people to swear by Baal—then they will be established among my people.”
God is referring to the people who badly mistreated His chosen people…the people He had given incredible promises to. They had put His chosen into slavery and destroyed everything God had given them.
And yet, God says that if these people would learn to love Him, if they would seek His ways, He would forgive them and give them the same status as His chosen people.
Isn’t that incredible? God had a special kind of relationship with the Jews. He loved them with a kind of love that is hard to fathom. And yet, He says that if the people who brought His people so much hardship and heartbreak would turn to Him, He would forgive them.
Listen, if you hurt my loved ones, you and I are going to have a problem. You hurt them, I’m gonna hurt you. That’s just the way it is. Maybe I’ll forgive you once you’ve felt the payback. But not until then.
Ok, so that’s my flesh talking. See? I have a hard time with forgiving. Thankfully, God has given me an amazing, caring, loving, giving, selfless wife who has a forgiving heart, and she models forgiveness to me constantly. I read and understand God’s Word, and He uses her to put flesh on what I read.
So as the bumper sticker says, “God isn’t finished with me yet.” I’m glad He doesn’t give up.