Love Is Deeper Than Hate!
No one understands the nature of true love without feeling the agony of betrayal and the hatred it releases. Only then will the true nature of love reveal itself beneath the hurt and anger. Real love, the only kind capable of building enduringly rich relationships among fallen people, draws its passion from the character of the one who loves, not the one loved.
If you want to hear My voice, and you do, then listen to Me say these words to you in this letter:
“You will be irresistibly drawn to My love and able to give it to others when you discover in your own experience that the love I have planted in your heart can never be destroyed by rejection, betrayal, criticism, or any other form of unlove you receive. True love reveals itself as the strongest of all passions when your impulse to hate those who hurt you is fully felt.
My Son came to your world to make possible that kind of love. When I told Hosea to bring back to his home the woman who had thrown the sharpest daggers into his heart, he caught sight of the kind of love I pour out on My adulterous people. And he was enabled to speak to My people from a heart like Mine, broken, angry, yet still loving. When the sword pierced My Son’s side, the life of love began to spread like a good infection into everyone who bowed before the cross.“
As you read the twenty-eight letter of Hosea, visualize yourself sitting with our Heavenly Father as He invites you to see deeply into His character. Hear these words from your Heavenly Father:
“Your sin breaks My heart. You have the power to cause Me deep pain. I suffer more than every abused spouse, every abandoned child, every heartbroken parent, every betrayed friend in the history of time. Hosea’s pain was as one drop in the ocean of pain I feel every day.
I respond to hurt with fury, with righteous anger, with holy hatred. Aristotle was wrong when he defined anger as the desire for retaliation. That is unholy anger, perverted hatred.
Lactantius, a father to My people in the third century, got it right. ‘Anger, he said, is a motion of the soul rousing itself to curb sin.’
I look at My people, and I know this is not the way things are supposed to be, the way you were created to relate with Me. I began to hate My people when they turned from Me and toward another for the satisfaction they desired. My soul roused itself to curb their sins. They viewed Me as a lustful man views a woman. He uses her then discards her. He never loves her; he loves only the temporary pleasure she provides and seeks that pleasure wherever he can find it. My people knew nothing of the sheer delight of knowing Me in a relationship of true love. Read about that in Hosea 9:15.
The Lord says, “All their wickedness began at Gilgal;
there I began to hate them.
I will drive them from my land
because of their evil actions.
I will love them no more
because all their leaders are rebels. (NLT)
In My terrible hurt and boiling anger, I wanted to abandon My people. I wanted to abandon you, to throw you away into hell and return to the pleasures of heaven. But a deeper, stronger, more compelling emotion arose within Me. I can’t stop wanting you to be with Me, and I will have you at My party, at any cost that I must pay.
I love you with a love stronger than My desire to quickly end My pain, a love more powerful than the hatred My holiness requires Me to feel. It was that kind of love I provided Hosea the opportunity to illustrate to My people. I want you to love like that, to feel the pain when someone hurts you, to embrace the anger that condemns their wickedness and is roused to curb their sin, and then to identify the most dangerous and divine emotion of all, a love that cannot give them up [Hosea 11:8-9].
Oh, how can I give you up, Israel?
How can I let you go?
How can I destroy you like Admah
or demolish you like Zeboiim?
My heart is torn within me,
and my compassion overflows.
No, I will not unleash my fierce anger.
I will not completely destroy Israel,
for I am God and not a mere mortal.
I am the Holy One living among you,
and I will not come to destroy. (NLT)
To enjoy My love and to pour it into others, you must repent. Many will say that you must first be healed of the wounds suffered at the hands of others. But requiring relief from your pain is wailing on your bed. I want you to repent, to cry from your heart, identifying how you’ve hurt Me and incited My anger, and to give up all hope of finding satisfaction for your soul from anyone or anything but Me.
Read again what I wrote in Hosea 7:13-14.
Woe to them! for they have strayed from me.
Destruction to them! for they have wronged me.
Am I supposed to redeem them,
when they have spoken lies against me?
They have not cried out to me from their hearts,
even though they wail on their beds.
They assemble themselves for grain and wine,
yet turn away from me. (CJB)
Then read the first three verses of chapter 6, where My people thought they were repenting but in fact were only wailing.
A Call to Repentance
“Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces;
now he will heal us.
He has injured us;
now he will bandage our wounds.
In just a short time he will restore us,
so that we may live in his presence.
Oh, that we might know the Lord!
Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
or the coming of rains in early spring.”
Then turn to chapter 14. It is there, in verses 1 through 3 that I provided a model for true repentance, for crying from your heart as you lay in the ditch of your sin.
Healing for the Repentant
Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
for your sins have brought you down.
Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord.
Say to him,
“Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us,
so that we may offer you our praises.
Assyria cannot save us,
nor can our warhorses.
Never again will we say to the idols we have made,
‘You are our gods.’
No, in you alone
do the orphans find mercy.”
True repentance of real sin lets you experience the real joy of true love. Whatever else you hear Me say or see Me do in the next eleven letters, remember this: in the exact center of My infinite being, beneath all the hurt you cause Me and all the anger I feel toward you lies an ocean of infinite love. I invite you to come for a swim. Every word I say is part of that invitation.”
Those you call the Minor Prophets (Hosea is the first) will more clearly reveal the depths of the ditch into which you have fallen and the heights of love I want you to enjoy. Do on miss the message they bring. There are many in the church today who see ditches as a shallow gulley from which, with a little effort, they can lift themselves to walk through life on solid ground. They are wrong. Only from the depths of the ditch can you see the power of My love.
In my next post we will go deeper into Scripture, chapter by chapter of the book of Hosea.
66 Love Letters