The prophet Hoshea declares, in this weeks stirring and famous Haftara :
" שובה ישראל עד ד' א-לוקיך כי כשלת בעוונך "
Hoshea is asking, no more and no less than, full and complete teshuva – a return to an intimate relationship with the Creator, without the static and baggage of trangressions. And what mechanism does the Navi offer to reach such a vaunted goal ? The following realization :
You have been stumbled by your sins.
Seemingly simplistic – this concept actually alludes to a deeper idea that can form the backbone for the most meaningful and complete teshuva.
When temptation strikes and defying G-d seems like a viable prospect – there is an underlying cause. A drive and a want to achieve something. Be it a release, or a comfort or even an indulgence. The reason we go through with our illegitimate plans is because it seems the best way to satisfy that drive or want. When we realize that - if it goes against Hashem's wishes – then it must be counterproductive in achieving our goals – we have come a long way.
The Prophet speaks to us – your sins are not bringing you the joy and comfort that you crave – they are only stumbling blocks to true happiness !
When we internalize this message we will be firmly established on the path to teshuva – a path that leads, ultimately, to Hashem Himself.