LOVE Relents

“But when the angel stretched out his hand towards Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented concerning the evil,

and said to the angel who was bringing destruction among the people,

 ‘It is enough; now stay your hand.’ (2 Samuel 24: 16)”

When we think of love, do we think of a “happy ever after” scenario like marriage will be a continuous high of falling in love?  Or do we see love as an emotion that has shades and degrees that allow for arguments to be part of relationship and perseverance in the give and take of life?  George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life” contemplates suicide.  God sends an angel who shows George Bailey what life might have been like had he not been born.  George relents of his wish to not have been born and runs back to the bridge and prays, “Please God, let me live!”

         Joseph in the Christmas story determines that he will quietly put Mary away when he learns that she is pregnant.  As God speaks into his dilemma through a dream, Joseph relents and takes Mary as his wife.

         The context of the Bible quote is that King David has sinned and God tells him to choose his punishment.  David chooses three days of plague from God for he reasons, “Then David said to Gad, ‘I am in great distress; let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into human hands. (2 Samuel 24:14)” God sees those dying at the hand of the angel of death, hears the wailing and does indeed relent and tells the angel to stop.  Love feels for the other and seeks reconciliation and healing, even when relationships are strained.  George Bailey begs to live.  Joseph steps into a marriage that he knows is going to start with people gossiping. 

         Perhaps there is a strained relationship that you are struggling with this Christmas.  The Christmas story challenges us to see our relationships through the eyes of God, through love that is merciful and willing to forgive and can relent of its anger.  Love is no excuse for abuse or lack of boundaries but love can work to build a narrative that honors God.  May you find love in your relationships this Christmas.  Blessings.

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