There is an idiom of ‘hedging your bets’. If you were a gambler or an investor, you would be careful not to put all your money into one place. You would also place bets on other options or diversify your investments to reduce the risk of losing everything.
If you hedge your bets, you are careful not to commit yourself to one thing, so that you do not make a mistake whichever way the situation develops.
When it comes to your relationships, do you ever hedge your bets? In the case of an unbelieving family member do you place the conditions of your love on whether they come to Jesus or not? Will you withhold yourself until they prove or show that they are a disciple?
In one sense, the disciple comes to a penultimate love for God. We understand that our love for God must be greater than our love for father, mother, husband, wife, sister, brother, child. Jesus calls us to a greater love for God.
Maybe we are hedging our bets, in the sense that we will love and be loved by God in the eventuality of family love dissolving. But we’re not talking about hunches and bets or risky investments. We are talking about people that God has us positioned to love and pray for.
So how do we love the way Jesus loves if our heart is feeling disappointed, disillusioned or trapped?
If we are to understand what it means to love with a broken heart, we have a good example in the story of Hosea and Gomer. Here we find a man named Hosea who marries a prostitute and then proceeds to love her toward becoming a faithful wife.
Through the story God revealed His heart for the nation of Israel. They were like a wayward spouse rejecting His love. We find in this tragic love story the process involved in restoring and building a new kind of relationship.
And the first thing God tells Hosea to do is put up a hedge around her. Obviously, it was not a literal hedge, but it was a barrier.
Gomer had a path of destruction with her lust and adultery. It involved false worship to the god Baal. Hosea recognized that something had to happen to block her from following the same old road. Thorn bushes are a good deterrent to get someone to turn back and look for another way.
Do you have someone who is going the wrong way? Not just someone who lives in denial towards God, but who has self-destructive behaviours? You may be tempted to secretly sabotage their sneaky plans, but that makes you as devious as they are.
The kind of barrier that you can put around them is built in the private domain of prayer. We can pray and ask God to build a hedge around them. It’s not that we’re asking God to inflict pain, but we do ask that the wrong path will be painful to them, so that if they persist it is going to hurt.
We pray and ask God to wall them in with a barrier that keeps them from finding fulfillment in their sin. We also see the hedge around them as a protection to keep the devil’s interference out.
Don’t expect your family member or friend to be comfortable as God begins to deal with them. There may be squirming as they try to carry on and find their way blocked.