“But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there” (Hosea 2:14, NLT).

When we wrong someone, we often have to crawl on our knees (literally and/or figuratively) with a peace gift in hand and an apology on our lips. We hope our apology will be accepted, but sometimes it’s not and that hurts. Because of these experiences we tend to assume God is the same way—when we sin or “wrong him,” we feel we must jump through all kinds of hoops to gain his forgiveness and regain his approval.

It’s true God hates sin. He knows it harms us and leads to death, causing all kinds of problems in the meantime, but he doesn’t require us to crawl to him on bloody knees or self-flagellate to prove our repentance. When we go astray, God’s desire is to win us back by speaking tenderly to our heart of hearts, as he did to Hosea’s wandering prostitute wife. He wants us more than we want him and goes to any length to bring us close. He is the tender lover who has already forgiven us and went all the way to the cross for us.