Love Lays Down Its Rights
About the Guest
Hosea could have left his adulterous wife, Gomer, but chose instead to illustrate the extravagant love of God by continuing to pursue her. Bryan Loritts points out where we fit into the story of Hosea.
Love Lays Down Its Rights
Bob: Would you say you have a perfect marriage? Of course, you don’t; but Bryan Loritts says, your imperfect marriage can still be a powerful marriage.
Bryan: What really makes Christian marriages such a strong witness in a dying world is—not that there is two perfect people who are together / those people don’t exist—it’s how we handle the brokenness in each other. It’s the refusal to turn our backs and the commitment to go again.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, May 11th. Our host is Dennis Rainey; I’m Bob Lepine. Bryan Loritts shares with us today how your imperfect marriage can glorify God and put the gospel on display for your family, your friends, and your neighbors. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition.
Get a chance today to hear Part Two of a message from our friend, Bryan Loritts, who spoke recently on the subject of marriage. As I’ve already said, he picked an unusual text. He picked the Book of Hosea from the Old Testament. There are some powerful lessons we can learn from a husband who was faithful when his wife was not.
Dennis: And Bob, the issue of unfaithfulness is—that’s a hard torpedo for the ship called marriage to take, but it is survivable. The only way you can survive having taken this hit to your marriage is—both the husband and the wife / and I’m saying both, not just the person who has been the offender and committed adultery—they have to humble themselves, ask for forgiveness, then roll up their sleeves and begin the process of rebuilding trust, rebuilding the relationship, and taking it to a new place—some place that is far different and far better than what had taken them to the place of adultery in the first place.
Bob: I was talking to a husband, recently, who had been the offender; and he’s in this process. It’s feeling long and hard. He was despairing a little bit and thinking: “Is this every going to work? Are we ever going to get there? Will trust ever be rebuilt? How long does this take?”
Dennis: The offender, especially—I think this is probably a characteristic that is true mostly of men—but they want to confess it, throw the switch, and move on. They think that you can: “Just admit it; let’s fix this; let’s declare this—
Bob: —“’Back to normal.’”
Dennis: Yes; and not realize that, when you slice someone’s heart open—yes; there is blood, initially—but when it does start to heal, there’s a wound. Then that would turns into a scar.
Bob: The point is—your spouse doesn’t want things to get back to normal, because normal is what got you to adultery.
You’ve got to figure out: “How do you get—not back to normal—but how do you get to a new place, where adultery isn’t in the equation any longer?”
Dennis: Let me just say to our listeners, here, at the beginning of the broadcast—you’re going to hear the second part of a great message by Bryan Loritts, a pastor on the West Coast—a good friend of mine. I’ve been in a mentoring relationship with Bryan for over 15 years, but let me just give you some [preventative] offense here.
Go to a Weekend to Remember®. Don’t wait until you’re marriage ship has taken a torpedo of adultery, or pornography, or some kind of unfaithfulness to the other. Invest in your marriage now and turn your good marriage into a great marriage. Don’t wait until things aren’t right. Go to a Weekend to Remember. It is, in my opinion, the finest thing in existence to refresh a marriage; remind you of why you married one another; and to have a great, romantic weekend at a great location.
Bob: We’ve got information about upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaways on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com.
If you’ve never been, there are still getaways happening this spring into June. Then, of course, next fall, we’ll have a complete lineup of getaways. Find out more at FamilyLifeToday.com.
As we pick up with Part Two of Bryan Loritts’ message from the Book of Hosea, we’re at that point in the book where things go south for Hosea and Gomer.
Bryan: They get married. Then it happens. We don’t know how it happens—our text does not tell us—but it happened; because our text opens up by God saying to Hosea, as it relates to Gomer, “Go again.” These two words say a whole lot. The call for Hosea to go again tells us that something happened—that there was a period of estrangement. Reading the white spaces of the text, it’s obvious what happened.
What happened is—Gomer’s old proclivities came creeping back. She had an affair / she got caught up—she got in a relationship with someone else.
I can imagine Hosea—maybe, he’s just pulled up in his chariot, hops out. He just got finished preaching a revival. Maybe, he’s running inside, excited to share what happened with Gomer on his trip only to discover another man in his bed.
I’ll be honest with you—I hope this is a safe place—if I’m Hosea, I’m going to be a little relieved: “I wouldn’t have picked her out in the first place. God, this was your idea; and God, I know your Word, in the Torah, You not only give me a provision to divorce someone based on adultery; but you actually say, ‘I can stone her if I want.’ So, God, I’m done. I’m out of here.”
God says: “Not so fast! Remember, Hosea, this relationship is not about you and her. It is a window to My astounding love for My people. If every time you messed up, I wiped My hands clean of you, you wouldn’t have made it out the first day with Me. So, what I want you to do, Hosea, is to do to her what I do to you—all throughout every day of your relationship with Me—go again; go again; and go again.”
What really makes Christian marriages such a strong witness in a dying world is—not that there are two perfect people who are together / those people don’t exist—it’s how we handle the brokenness in each other. It is the refusal to turn our backs and the commitment to go again, but to do this demands we lay down our rights.
I can see Hosea saying: “Listen, God. You said in Your Word that if a person commits adultery…”—and parenthetically, Jesus, in Matthew 19, gives a provision—we have biblical rights. I don’t think that can be legislated either way. You have to listen to the Spirit of God and what He is telling you and seek great counsel.
But God tells Hosea, in so many words: “I know what I said. [Laughter] I wrote it; but in My asking you to go again, I’m asking you to lay down your rights.” I can see Jesus saying, “If you want to go back to rights, you’re saved because I laid Mine down.” To mirror Jesus, in the context of marriage, is to lay down our rights.
What does it look like to love? It’s strange—we lay down rights.
Thirdly, it’s costly. Verse 2—I love it—right after God says, “Go again,”—verse 2 says, “So I bought her.” You’ve got to understand—it says, “I bought her for fifteen shekels and a homer and a lethech of barley,”—this is telling. You’ve got to understand that Gomer has gotten herself enslaved. In modern parlance, we would say she’s being sex-trafficked / she’s in bondage.
The going rate to emancipate a woman, who was being sex-trafficked, was 30 shekels. So, why doesn’t the text say that “I bought her for 30 shekels”? Why does it say that “I bought her for 15 shekels and a homer and a lethech of barley”? Answer: He didn’t have 30 shekels.
Get this—to redeem the one who cheated on him—cost him everything he had. I can see him right now, in his home, checking beneath the sofa, looking up under the bed, scraping together the 15 shekels, going to the auctioneer, saying: “This is all I’ve got. I know it is 30 shekels; but what if I added a homer and a lethech of barley?” I could see them right now, just bargaining. The auctioneer just says, “Bring what you have.”
It ain’t love if it doesn’t cost. If you ain’t paying a price at some point in your marriage, you ain’t loving. See, our problem is—we want Nordstrom-quality marriages at thrift-store prices. [Laughter] It costs.
If I were to stop the message right now, I would make love seem to be this spineless doormat, where you just kind of suck it up and just take it; but that ain’t how our text ends.
He goes to the auction block, paying everything he had, for a woman who has wronged him. He redeems her. Then look at these words in verse 3: “And I said to her, ‘You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.’”
Love is strange—love lays down rights / love is costly—but finally, love has a standard. He redeems her; and he says: “Look, here’s the deal. If this is going to work, there must be a mutual commitment to an agreed upon standard.” Now watch it—notice the order. He redeems her first and then gives the standard. Had he given the standard first and then the redemption, he would have made her redemption conditional upon her works.
Don’t you see?—this is salvation!
God does not say, “Here’s the standard.” He doesn’t come to Israel and say: “You know what? I’ve got ten things I’d love for you to do. You’re in bondage to Egypt. Do these ten things; then I’ll open up the Red Sea.” It’s not what God does. Instead, He opens up the Red Sea and then gives the Ten Commandments. Why?—so their obedience would be out of delight and not duty. Or hear Romans 2:4—Romans 2:4 says, “It is God’s kindness that leads to our repentance.” It is not our repentance that leads to God’s kindness.
So, he redeems her and then calls her to the standard. Don’t you see? For the last several minutes, I’ve been preaching this thing from a secondary application perspective. I’ve been preaching it in the context of marriage; but the primary application is God’s relationship with us. Don’t you see?—we are all Gomers!
Until you see yourself as a Gomer, you will be a self-righteous individual, who lords over your spouse and demands their performance; but the moment you understand that “I am Gomer / that God has saved me by His grace.” Once I get that grace, now, I’m ready—not to be a cul-de-sac of that grace, where it sits—but a boulevard of that grace.
Don’t you understand?—on the cross, Jesus laid down His rights. Don’t you understand?—that on the cross, Jesus took His 15 shekels and a homer and lethech of barley.
I’m a big Delta guy. I’ve got all my miles with Delta—I’ve flown over a million miles with them. I’ve got Diamond Status, which means I travel way too much; but it also means that, if there is an empty seat in First Class, I get it.
Now, that’s a wonderful perk until I’m travelling with my wife, who has no status. [Laughter] I’ve had to learn it ain’t conducive to a healthy marriage for me to be chilling up in First Class, eating Biscoff cookies, while Sister Loritts, with her no-status self, is back in coach.
I’m learning—I’m learning that, as I travel now with Delta with my wife, I need to sit with her in coach. I’ll still get the upgrade, because of my status; but I’ll sit next to my wife in coach, which means I’m sitting in someone else’s seat. Now, that person’s seat I’m sitting in will come at me and will start barking at me: “You’re sitting in my seat. You’re sitting in my…”—and I’ll shut them up real quick by giving them my First Class seat. [Laughter] Now watch this—I haven’t lost my status; I’m still Diamond.
I just refuse to use the perks of my status for my own selfish ends. In the process, two people get blessed. [Applause]
Jesus was chilling in the First Class section of the universe called heaven—saw we sinners floundering, with no status here in the coach section of the universe called earth, headed for an eternity in hell. Jesus stepped out of heaven / died on a cross so that we could get the upgrade back to heaven—that is love.
In some way, shape, or form, He calls us to incarnate that love in the theater of marriage. It’s costly, but that’s what it means to be a Christian. It means we love, performance-free.
Will you pray with me?
Father, we bless You in this place today. Thank You for the gift of marriage.
We acknowledge that there is so much more to marriage than meets the eye. Marriage is an illustration to profoundly and powerfully communicate the depths of Your eternal love to a dying world. May how we treat our spouse—in some way, shape, or form—tell the truth about Your love toward us.
And when—not if—when we blow it / when our spouse blows it, may there be a mutual commitment to go again, and go again, and go again; because, God, that’s what You do with us every day of our lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.
God bless you. [Applause]
Brian: Stay right here Bryan. You know, as I was listening to this message, one of the thoughts that I had was: “It’s one thing to give up your rights. When does it become: ‘Giving up your rights becomes being trampled on’?”
Brian: How can you tell the difference?
Bryan: Yes, that’s a fine line; isn’t it? There should be—I believe Ephesians 5:21: “Be subject to one another.” There is a mutuality there. I think if the trajectory of the relationship is one person always kind of acquiescing and giving in, I think that’s when it actually becomes abusive and oppressive.
Brian: Yes; right.
Bryan: It’s tough, because we don’t want to keep a record of wrongs / we don’t want to keep score; but we have seen those situations. I think it is more art than science. There are those heavy seasons, when the Holy Spirit is really speaking to me: “Yes; give your rights again, and again, and…” You’ve got to be sensitive to that.
Bryan: There are times when you’ve got to go: “Let’s have a marital realignment session here. Let’s go at it—I just feel like….” That’s where I feel like Level Four communication, where you talk out of feelings. It helps to kind of put the person at ease and just open up your heart and share, “Hey, it just feels like—boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.”
Bryan: Then you can address it from there.
Brian: Yes; absolutely. Bryan, thank you.
Bryan: Thank you.
Brian: Thank you for your word. We appreciate it. [Applause]
Bob: Well, again, that’s Bryan Loritts, together with our colleague, Brian Goins, who was asking Bryan the question there at the end of the message. If our listeners missed any part of today’s message from Bryan Loritts, it’s available online at FamilyLifeToday.com. You can stream the entire message. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com to find the message available there.
It is hard for people to deal with the pain, the hurt, the betrayal, that comes when there’s been unfaithfulness in a marriage; but you and I have talked to enough couples, who have figured out a way to forget what lies behind and to press on. Their marriages are better and stronger. In fact, we’ve run into so many couples who are—they are influencing other marriages, because of the scars in their own marriage.
They’ve turned what was pain into something that’s, not just redemptive, but something that’s being used positively in the lives of other people.
Dennis: I would say—if that describes your marriage right now, you ought to consider maybe taking some couples to the Weekend to Remember or hosting The Art of Marriage® small group series—maybe, preventing affairs from occurring.
In fact, I was going to ask you, Bob—if you were giving advice to a young couple, starting out—the best advice you could give them on preventing an affair, long term—what would you say? Because I’ve got one after you’ve got yours.
Bob: No; you give yours and give me a chance to think here; okay?
Dennis: Okay; I’m going to go back to my standard answer, and it’s not trite; but it’s: “Pray together every day.” Two people, who are bowing before Almighty God—you can fake it for a while; but after a while, God will show up.
He will tap you and say: “Hey, repent. Deal with it. Get real with Me, as God; and get real with your spouse—together, as a couple.”
I don’t know of anything I could have done that could have prevented an affair in our marriage more than praying together with Barbara. I’m going to tell you—Barbara is my one and only. I have been faithful to her in over 45 years; in fact, coming up on 46 years of marriage.
Bob: Well, I don’t think I can come up with a better answer than pray; but I do think: intentionality/investing—don’t let the sun go down on your anger; don’t let bitterness / don’t let isolation work its way into your marriage relationship. When you start to feel distant, you’ve got two options: One is to have a little pity party and think: “This isn’t fair. This isn’t right.” The other is to throw a flag and say: “We’ve got to fix this. We’ve got to do whatever it takes so that the growing isolation between us”—
—if there is hurt / if there is resentment that has built up—“we’ve got to address it rather than just letting it fester,”—because “How do most affairs start?”—with somebody sharing with somebody [of the opposite sex] outside the marriage about problems in their marriage.
Dennis: Don’t ever do that, by the way.
That’s great advice—what you just said. Small things can become big things if the heart grabs a hold of it and becomes embittered and hardened. That’s what you don’t want to have happen in a marriage relationship.
Bob: Well, again, if you missed any part of Bryan’s message on “Hosea, and Gomer, and Us,” it’s available, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com.
Bryan is also one of the featured contributors in FamilyLife’s Art of Marriage® video series. We’ve had more than a million people, now, who have gone through this video series. Some have done it in a small group setting, and we’ve got a small group kit that’s available for that. Others have done the expanded Art of Marriage series as a weekend retreat for couples from their church or as a video event that they’ve hosted in their local church.
Art of Marriage features, in addition to Bryan Loritts, of course, his dad Crawford. Voddie Baucham is a part of it—Dennis Rainey, Al Mohler, Russell Moore. There’s a great group of contributors who are a part of The Art of Marriage. You can find out more about it when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com.
Bryan and his wife Korie are also in our new video series called FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting™, and it has just been released. It’s available now for small group use, or there is an online course you can go through for free. Again, find out more when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com; or call if you have any questions: 1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
Of course, this weekend is Mother’s Day. Hope you have a great celebration of Mother’s Day with your mom; or dads, if your kids aren’t already clued in on this, you’ve got some work to do; right?
We don’t have any of our Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways happening this weekend as a result of Mother’s Day; but next weekend, there’s a getaway happening in the Poconos; and then we still have getaways happening throughout the spring. Would you be praying for the couples who are going to be attending one of these getaways over the next couple of months—that God would do a great work in their marriage relationship?
Then, let me also encourage you to be a part of the team that makes all that we’re doing, here, at FamilyLife® possible, especially the work of FamilyLife Today. I’m talking about our Legacy Partners. These are folks who donate to support this ministry on a monthly basis. Your monthly support provides the financial foundation for this ministry to continue.
This month, we are praying that God would raise up 300 new families to join us as Legacy Partner families. That’s just six families in every state where FamilyLife Today is heard. Maybe, for your state, you can be one of the new Legacy Partner families.
If you sign on as a Legacy Partner this month, two things are going to happen.
First, we’re going to send you a thank-you gift—a certificate that you can use for yourself or pass on to someone else to attend a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway this spring or next fall—whenever you’d like to use it. That comes as our gift to you when you become a new Legacy Partner. Second, your donations for the next 12 months are going to be matched, dollar for dollar. Every time you make a donation, your donation will be doubled, up to a total of $500,000, thanks to a matching-gift fund that’s been established to help us recruit some new Legacy Partners.
Would you consider signing up today? Go to FamilyLifeToday.com to do that, or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. If you’re interested in making a one-time donation, that donation will matched during the month of May as well. We would love to hear from you—hoping to hear from a lot of our listeners this month. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and say, “I want to become a Legacy Partner.”
We’ll send out that gift certificate for the Weekend to Remember to you when you sign up.
We hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend, and hope you’re able to be together for Mother’s Day. I hope you can join us back on Monday when we’re going to talk about children who are memorizing Scripture—some pretty remarkable young people, who are memorizing hundreds of verses. We’ll hear about them on Monday. I hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas; a Cru® Ministry.
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