SCENARIO: Would you forgive this?

Dead flowers.jpg

You’ve fallen in love with the person of your dreams. You are besotted (you’ve spent hours stalking them online), and you catch yourself daydreaming at inappropriate times.

You decide to be together forever. You see your whole life ahead of you, right down to your matching wardrobe.

You share your deepest fears. Have outrageously good sex. Exchange a smug, knowing glance when you see other couples bickering at Ikea. The years pass with the obligatory ups and downs but your love is so deep the idea of being apart is laughable.

And then it happens. Your person is having an affair.

They promised never to. You can’t breathe. You vacillate between absolute denial, maniacal cry laughing and anger you’re sure will make you combust. You’ve never felt such pain, and you know others couldn’t begin to understand. You want to stop feeling. You want to die.

Your person feels bad. They’re sorry they’ve hurt you, they realise it was wrong and they want to make it up to you. You love this person so much you are willing to do whatever it takes to return your relationship to what it was. Your person agrees.

And then your person does it again.

How do you respond?

Scenario A:

You are livid. LIVID. How dare they humiliate you like this?You don’t want to die: you want them to die. They need to pay the price. They need to feel your rejection. You throw their possessions to the curb and you change the locks. You eat too much ice cream and drink too much alcohol. You don’t leave the house. You’ve no idea how you’re going to get over this—what are you going to tell your friends and family?—but there is no way you will forgive this person. Ever.

Scenario B:

The hurt and anger of scenario A is a tiny speck compared to what you’re feeling now. But this is your person we’re talking about. Even though they’re not sorry nor repentant, you love them so much, you forgive them. You tell them that you still want to be with them forever, and even though you understand that they’ll continue to reject you, you are patient and willing to keep forgiving. You love them unconditionally. All you ask of your person is that they try.

And yet, your person doesn’t change. They will continue to hurt you until the day they die.

Would you choose scenario B?

I would not because I could not. Are you for real?! Even just the forgiveness bit would be near impossible. Even if I did end up forgiving (in the very far away future), it would be purely for my own selfish reasons, and not because of love for the other person.

I think you know where I’m going with this.

God responds to us with scenario B.

His love is so much bigger than what we’re capable of feeling. The same applies to His hurt. And His anger. But this is the nature of our relationship with Him. And even though we will continue to sin and cause Him pain, He wants to forgive us and overlook our betrayal. He just wants us to choose Him.

Does this sound too good to be true?

Lol yes. But if there’s the slimmest of chances there’s someone out there who can love you like this, isn’t it worth doing some reading?

Worst case scenario: you’ve spent some time educating yourself on history and theology, and you keep your status quo.

Best case scenario: you find out it’s true. This will change your life forever.

This post was inspired by Andrew Heard’s sermon in the series: Love for the Loveless and reading from Hosea 6:4-7:2. Andrew: thank you for your thoughtfulness and clarity, even though my pen couldn’t keep up with you!