A Love/Hate Relationship
After she was defiled by them, she turned from them in disgust. Ezekiel 23:17
I can clearly recall the first time I took an opiate pain medication. It was euphoric, amazing, and beyond description. I immediately fell in love with it. I didn’t go on to abuse pills for several years, but when I did, that love eventually turned to hate. Though I came to despise the pill, I continued to sacrifice tremendously in pursuit of it.
Most of us know this love/hate relationship. We can identify with Paul when he describes doing the very thing I hate. We hate it when we explode in anger at our loved ones, yet we do it anyway. We hate being overweight and overeating, yet we love candy, donuts, and pizza. We hate ourselves for our dark, destructive behavior, yet we can’t stop doing it. Something is wrong with us.
This seems to be the tone of today’s passage in which God describes his wayward people repeatedly with a graphic, sexual metaphor – as unfaithful whores. The whore, he says, continually pursues pleasure, but then hates the one she pursued. In her destructive behavior, she comes to despise that which she thought she loved.
It’s a painful passage, made all the more painful, when we realize that God is describing our condition. Though we may know Christ and have a new spirit life, we carry that life in a body that continues to have broken, destructive desires. We all still have sick, pathologic appetites for that which would cause us misery and destruction. We want to follow God, but we maintain our illicit affairs with food, drugs, pride, pornography, gossip, anger, money, and all-things-self.
The only adequate solution to our problem, is to continually commit to doing whatever it takes to abandon those things we hate and to replace them with the only one who can truly satisfy our deepest needs. We don’t need to live enslaved to our appetites. God insists that we can know true peace, and life only in our relationship with him. Daily, we must do what it takes to turn from those things we hate, to find true love and freedom in God.