Throughout time, humans have elevated reason – our ability to rationalize and make judgement calls regarding good and bad decisions. In Aristotle’s Ethics he describes human beings as rational animals and identifies reason as a uniquely human characteristic. Our ability to justify and rationalize our decision-making is God-given. But dependence upon reason can also get in the way of God’s call for us to love unconditionally.
Human reason is great, but God’s wisdom shames the wise (I Corinthians 1:27). Where we see only failure, He sees a future. Where we see destruction, He sees destiny. In the middle of our mess, He begins a miracle. And so, He calls us to love like He does — unreasonably.
God’s Love is Unreasonable
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:6-8 (NIV)
God’s love for us does not line up with human reasoning. Christ’s loving sacrifice on the cross defies human logic. The overwhelming flood of love and grace bestowed upon humanity only makes sense in light of God’s goodness (Psalm 106:1).
God’s love for you, for your spouse, and for your family has:
- No conditions
- No limits
- No exceptions
- Beyond reason
He loves with an unreasonable love. And He calls for husbands to love their wives with the same level of reckless, unreasonable abandon that Christ showed.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. — Ephesians 5:25 (NIV)
An Unreasonable Love Story
God saw fit to include an unreasonable love story in scripture, demonstrating his relentless pursuit of our hearts. It plays out in the life of the prophet Hosea.
The Lord speaks to Hosea and instructs him to do something unreasonable:
Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord. — Hosea 1:2 (NIV)
Other translations clarify that the word “promiscuous” doesn’t simply mean that she was loose, but that she was a prostitute. Hosea dutifully seeks out and marries a prostitute named Gomer. Like a scene out of Pretty Woman, Hosea takes Gomer off the streets and makes an honest woman out of her. But as we will soon find out, unlike Hollywood, Gomer has far more difficulty letting go of her checkered past.
As the story unfolds, they have three children and apart from them being given some harrowing names, their life appears to be rather normal. But not for long.
In Chapter 2, God describes his anger and sadness over the way in which Israel has rejected His love and “cheated” on Him with other gods. Yet, the latter half of the chapter He expresses His desire to bring them back and make them whole. Sadly, this same picture is played out in Hosea’s life.
In Chapter 3, we learn that Gomer has left Hosea and returned to the only life she knows – on the streets. The Lord instructs Hosea to pursue his wife and bring her home.
Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites,though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes. – Hosea 3:1 (NIV)
You can just imagine Hosea going from house to house and store to store. Stopping in every bar and hospital, asking if anyone has seen his precious wife, Gomer. No doubt, jeers and judgement muttered under the breath of disapproving townsfolk. Yet still he searches. But she isn’t at any of her old haunts. He can’t find her at her old corner and he can’t find her at any of the brothels or pubs that he visits. She’s become far too desperate to be found at any of those places. Instead, he finds her on the auction block. His wife which he loved, honored, and made a home and a family with is selling herself as a sex slave to the highest bidder.
So I bought her for 15 shekels of silver and five bushels of barley. – Hosea 3:2 (HCSB)
Gomer betrayed him, abandoned him, and was prepared to sell herself to any man willing to pay. One man was willing – her husband. Hosea pursued her and loved her with an unreasonable love. He bought her back, just as Christ bought you with the price of His blood (Romans 6:23, I John 2:2).
Love Your Wife Unreasonably
God set the bar of love outrageously high. If you want to love like Christ, you must sacrifice yourself (your ideas, your ambitions, your preferences, your ego) and allow Christ to live through you:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
Does your wife annoy you? Love her anyway.
Does your wife hurt your feelings? Love her anyway.
Does your wife neglect you? Love her anyway.
No matter how difficult your marriage may seem, your spouse is easier to love than Gomer. Count your blessings, love your bride like crazy, and place your trust and confidence in God’s ability to heal your marriage. Perhaps Voltaire said it best: “Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.”
Place your faith in God’s redeeming love and in turn, choose to love your wife beyond all reason. Jesus did no less for you.