Our family completed our “family unit” in reverse of how you’re supposed to do it. Everyone knows you’re supposed to get married, then get a fish. If the fish is still alive after a year, then you know you can handle getting a cat. If the cat is still alive after a year, you know you can handle getting a dog. If the fish, the cat and the dog are still alive after one more year, a husband and wife can safely assume they are ready to handle kids. My wife and I are a bit warped because we went about it all out-of-order; cat, kid, another kid, another kid, dog, then fish. Thus, one of the last members of our “family” was our dog Ellie Mae who introduced my to the joys of poo-patrol.
A few years ago my wife, Aleta, asked me to mow our back lawn. So I tried to do what she asked me to do without expending too much energy (something we men have turned into an art form). I saw some uncollected poo on the lawn. I half thought of mowing right over it without picking it up, but my smart brain over-ruled my lazy-brain and convinced me that would be a very dumb idea. So I quickly gathered all of Ellie’s special gifts into one pile on the side of the yard, figured I would throw it away later, and then mowed my lawn. Done! An hour later Aleta found me and asked, “Are you the one piling up Ellie’s poo in a big pile?” Thinking I had nothing to be ashamed of I said, “Yes!” I was surprised by my wife’s reaction. She firmly said to me, “I really don’t like it when you do that! Why do you leave the job half done like that? Can’t you just get a bag and then throw it away?” I just stood in my kitchen with my hands raised in the international symbol of surrender, and I said “Sorry!” But I was thinking, “Fine, I get it. You caught me being lazy, and you’re disappointed that I didn’t finish the job, but give me a break. What do you want from me?”
Ever been confronted with someone’s disappointment in you? Have you ever found yourself saying “Sorry,” but you’re thinking, “Give me a break! What do you want from me?” Have you ever been in a place like that with God, when He’s used the bible, the radio, some friend, some loved one, a boss, or a preacher to communicate His sadness over choices we’ve made?
In the next few posts I want to walk through Hosea 6 as it explores repentance before God. “Repentance” is a word that only Christians ever seem to use; especially the more sleazy televangelist Christians on TV. It’s a word that regular people in the real world don’t use very often. Even though televangelist’s over-use the word, and regular people never use the word – it’s actually a good word. The Hebrew word for “repent” (Nacham) literally means “to sigh deeply in sorrow. The Greek word (Metaneo) literally means “to think differently and reconsider.” Webster’s dictionary actually provides a fantastic definition of what the bible means by the word “repentance”- “Feeling such great regret or dissatisfaction over some past action or sins so as to change, or decide to change ones ways.” So as we walk through Hosea 6 I want to ask the question: What does repentance look like when God places the mirror of His love right in front of our face, and we realize a need for correction in our lives that God’s seen all along? Stay tuned . . .