Commitment to a person can mean another human being or God. One of the most beautiful stories of commitment is between David and Jonathan in their trusting and sacrificial friendship. Another painful and wrenching story in the Bible is between Hosea and his wandering wife Gomer. It was theology through experience, and it became a metaphor for rebel Israel.
In Hosea's story, after Gomer deserted him he would never have gone back to redeem her. She was dirty, defiled, compromised,untouchable and unworthy. The bridges had all been burnt beyond repair. The hurt was deep, death was dear and pain inconsolable. Was redemption even thinkable?
And yet when he discovers her abject slavery, her intense punishment and vulnerable brokenness he sets out to redeem her. She had love but he had commitment. Her love evaporated when she found the emotional high of a new relationship and then plunged with vertigo into an emotional low of slavery and dehumanization. But for Hosea even when the love was lost, the commitment never eroded. So he makes the painful and costly journey to restore her back to wholeness.
In truth, all this was only the long journey on cobbled streets to a broken cross and, in the words of the Latin Hymn:
How pale thou art in anguishIt was not the journey of Hosea but of Christ, for all of mankind. And that love and commitment is embodied, embedded and emboldened in that bleeding Cross. And it shows the true meaning of commitment. It shows how to be redeemed and how to be like the redeemer.
With sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish
Which once was bright as morn.
What thou my Lord hast suffered
Was all for sinners gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But thine the deadly pain!*
*"O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" is a Christian Passion hymn based on a Latin text written during the Middle Ages. J.W. Alexander's version in 1830, originally, contains 11 stanzas.