And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the Lord. Genesis 13:3-4 ESV
What do you do after you’ve been humiliated? After you’ve fallen from grace? Perhaps you’ve wronged someone deeply and the thought of facing them again is unnerving. You decide to avoid them instead.
Uncertainty plagues anyone before they’re about to give an apology. After all, history proves that not all people are forgiving. The propensity to hide is well-founded, especially if a past apology didn’t go well. They refused to let you make things right and enjoyed holding your sins over your head. They were quick to remind you of who you were and what you did, even if it was twenty-five years ago. This is emotional cruelty.
It’s difficult to separate God from this mix of fallen humanity. God forgives every time, even after repeated failures. God never gets weary of sincere apologies. He is as excited to see me return to Bethel and call upon His name as He was the first time I built an altar. No matter how many times I have failed, His loving-kindness is other-worldly.
After Abram was disgraced in Egypt with the Pharaoh, he didn’t decide to throw in the towel. He traveled back to Bethel, the place where he met God the first time and built an altar. This was the site of his spiritual homecoming, and he was quick, upon arriving there, to call upon the name of the LORD. There is no record of shyness.
People’s love is imperfect. I have many scars to prove it and still have a scared heart where certain people are concerned. They are dependably judgmental and immovable but God is not like that. No matter where I’ve gone, no matter what I’ve done, no matter how long I’ve been gone, I can always go back to Bethel.
On the other side of repentance, You will never keep reminding me of my sins. No one loves like You. Amen