As I looked up scriptures that talked about love, I came across Hoseas 14:4. ‘I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.’
I stared at it for a moment not knowing this verse existed, feeling overwhelmed at God’s love and mercy that I don’t deserve. None of us are perfect and we all fail at one point in life, but when you back slide it’s different. It’s not just one sin, it’s multiple sins as we turn our backs to God and refuse to acknowledge our faults or repent. We start going down the wrong way forgetting our commitment to God, and his price on Calvery. Then we sometimes want to blame him for the pain we feel as if it were He who walked away. I know, I’ve been there. Perhaps you’ve been there, are there, or know someone that’s has turned away, if so I hope you read this.
Many times my mom would tell me, ‘God still loves you and is waiting for you’. Honestly, most of the time it annoyed me to hear her say this. There was a point in my life when I was so bitter, I truly didn’t believe and maybe didn’t even care. One thing is for sure, I was feeling empty and hurting. I tried filling my emptiness with drugs and alcohol, looking for love in the wrong places. Then when I finally did want to return to God, I felt so filthy and unworthy. It took a lot from me to admit I was wrong, but even more to believe God truly forgave and loved me. How could he after all I’d done when backsliding? It’s like returning to your spouse, after walking out of your marriage, uncertain your spouse will take you back, or if the damage is even repairable. Well guesss what? This verse says he heals our backsliding! It really is a healing process. My damage was more emotional than physical. It was difficult to believe God truly forgave and would take me back when I was struggling to forgive myself. It’s been a year since I returned to God but, it hasn’t always been easy. The enemy has tried to put doubts, and sometimes I’ve seen people look at me skeptically. I’ve realize that there will always be at least one person who thinks or says something bad about me, whether I’m doing good or bad. It reminds me of the woman who came to Jesus and started washing his feel with her tears in Luke 7. Simon was wondering why Jesus was letting a sinful lady touch and kiss his feet. Then in v40-50 Jesus tells the parable of the two debtors. One owed 50 one owed 500 and when neither could pay up, the creditor forgave both their debts. Jesus ask which one of these debtors loved the creditor the most, Simon answered correctly by saying the one that was forgiven more. Then Jesus gave him a lecture of how the lady had given him better treatment than Simon himself.
In short, in many cases I am the debtor who owed the most, so no matter what satan says, or even people say, God forgave me alot and I love him for that! If you’ve backsliden and have come back, don’t be discouraged, we have a long way to go, but Jesus is there healing our backsliding. On the other hand if you have backslidden and debating if to return, I will paraphrase my mom, ‘Jesus is waiting for you’. Here is another verse, (I didn’t realize how poetic God was til I read this:); Isaiah 44:22 ”I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”