Hosea 14:4 I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.
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Sometimes when I make mean mistakes or selfishly sin, I think that God is deeply disappointed and angry with me. I find it difficult to approach Him with the right contrition and sincerity, so I end up wondering if I will be forgiven. I don’t feel worthy enough to be saved or good enough to be pardoned, and sometimes a darkness overwhelms my soul. It’s a frightening thing to fear God and to think that He will harshly judge me.
And then, just as I need it most, the Spirit leads me to a biblical verse which turns out to be a wonderful promise of God’s grace in action. Even as a pastor, I need to hear God speak to my soul. And He does today through these wonderful words of Hosea. It’s as if God is saying to me: “I will heal your waywardness and love you freely, for my anger has turned away from you.”
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie, ‘Amazing Grace.’ It’s all about William Wilberforce, the great anti-slave trade opponent who gave his life seeking to abolish slavery throughout Britain and her colonies. In one scene from the movie, Wilberforce is seen talking to John Newton, the slave trader turned preacher. Newton is agonizing over his sinful past and despairingly expresses his deep regrets. At one moment, he is almost overwhelmed with his past wickedness. Then he boldly declares: “I know two things – I am a great sinner and that Christ is a Great Savior.”
We all carry burdens of past mistakes and each of us have moments when we feel our guilt before God. But His grace through Jesus Christ is so almighty and complete, that all our sins can be forgiven, our past burdens can be relieved, and our future hopes can be restored. We just need to come to Christ in prayer to receive these wonderful blessings.
Prayer: Father God, we know that we offend, disappoint, and anger You with our sinful ways and selfish choices. We confess to doing stupid things and making serious mistakes. We seek Your mercy and forgiveness through Christ’s sacrifice and grace. In His Name, we humbly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor at Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.