Love the Unlovable

Go again, Hosea, go find her. Love this woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” Hosea 3:1 (ESV)

Let’s set up this scene: because of Israel’s unfaithfulness God commanded Hosea to marry a woman who was caught up in prostitution. They’ve had children together; they’ve built a family; she abandons them – she leaves this life of love and returns to her old life of unfulfillment. We have such a flawed example of faithfulness we witness from the world that when we encounter true faithfulness from the Father we don’t know what to do with it.

In Hosea 3 we peer into a conversation that God is having with Hosea and He tells him to go look for her again – WHAT? How easy would it have been for Hosea to say: “Yeah, I hear you and all, but I’m okay this time, thanks. She left us. What’s the point in going after her? What she’s done is too bad, I can’t love her again.“ That’s not how Hosea responded; Hosea went after her and he paid to get her back – he paid for what was already his. WHAT? She was his wife! How heart wrenching must that process have been, as you go looking for your wife, who is a former prostitute, and has now returned to prostitution – how messy is that search?

Too far fetched? I think this picture is meant to be a picture of the worst scene. It is something we think is so far out, so ridiculous that we could never be forgiven and God is saying even this I am ready, willing and prepared to forgive. More even I want to seek you out. I want to track you down and remind you I care, I love, I want to help.

Does this sound familiar? This is a picture of the gospel. Jesus is Hosea searching in lowly places to find us – to bring us home – and we are Gomer, constantly chasing the things that this world has to offer instead of chasing Him. But he still sends His son because He SO loved the world – an unlovable and adulterous people by our very nature.

In a world where faithfulness runs low – where hatred can be so deep – where love is hanging by a thread; Jesus calls us to be merciful towards our enemies, which is a type of love that is only available to us because of who He is. Are we living this way?

In Luke 6:31-36 Jesus explains what it looks like to love those who seem unlovable. Jesus did not walk the earth to find people who are nice, neat, and put together – no. He came for the messy. He came for the broken. He came for the unlovable. He came for us.

Jesus ate with sinners and He did life with thieves and outcasts – He says in the book of Mathew “…for I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” His heart is for the unlovable people of this world – and just to clarify, you and I are a part of that list. The good news is that we aren’t left in our mess. Jesus doesn’t stop His pursuit of broken people because they seem “too far gone,” instead He takes our human heart and transforms it into one like His so that we can love the lost like He does.

How do we love the unlovable? We look at Jesus. We learn about how He loved people. We read about the people He surrounded Himself with on a daily basis – who He ate with. The more we give to Him of ourselves, the more He will give to us of Himself.  We need to open ourselves up to the incredible relationship that Jesus wants to have with us because then he will change our affections.

Someone has recently told me that it’s important to find the gold in people because it’s so easy to point out their brokenness – people are more than their failure, but you may have to dig around under all of the rubble of their life to find it. When you listen to the song How He Loves remember that that song isn’t just written for you; His love is inclusive enough for the people who we find difficult to have affection for. God has lavished His mercy, grace, and love on us so that we can display to the world, not keep it for ourselves. How can you care about and show kindness towards the unlovable in your life?

Written by Kori Crawford for Teen Camp 2017