God speaks to us all the time. We just don’t always hear it. We are deaf from fear, anger, and other worldly things. This brings me to what God inspired me to share with you today about Jonah.
Jonah actually has his own book in the Old Testament in the Bible. I honestly thought it was buried among another book, so I felt a little silly when I went to look it up, and there he was. It really isn’t a long book, and the children’s version of the story tells the majority of it. However, do we know why?
God had told Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh:
Jonah 1: 2
“Go to the great city of Nineveh, and give them this announcement from the Lord. ‘I am going to destroy you, for your wickedness rises before me; it smells to the highest heaven.'”
This is how the story begins. Nineveh was a dangerous place, and Jonah was terrified. This is why he tried to defy God, and took off to Tarshish instead. God set the storm, while Jonah was sleeping aboard a ship. It was the captain and crew who sacrificed Jonah to the sea to stop the storm, and upon throwing him overboard and repenting, the storm stopped. God then ordered a whale to swallow Jonah up. He spent 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of the whale. It was not until after he prayed and repented that he was spit out on the shore.
From there Jonah went to Nineveh, as God had sent him originally. When Jonah went to this very large city to preach the word, and warn them of the doom about to come upon them, the city repented. The King ordered everyone, even the animals, to not drink or eat, and to cry out for mercy from God. To turn from their evil ways of violence and robbery, and hope that God would forgive them and spare them.
When God saw what the people of Nineveh did, he forgave them and abandoned his plan to destroy them. This angered Jonah. He wished for death, because he was angry that he even had to come to Nineveh to announce this impending doom. He claimed he knew that God would forgive them, and this was why he ran away to begin with.
So, how many of us have run away from something because we were afraid? Then, how many of us have been angry because those who have sinned were forgiven? Why should we be angry that our God is full of kindness and love and mercy? We should be joyous! Rejoice in his name that we are ALL forgiven. We all sin. We all fall off the path. We all run and hide when we are scared, and we all fall and skin our knees. Yet, we are all forgiven. We are all given that second and third and fourth chance. So, why is it, when another gets that same chance that we get angry.
We have it set in our minds that each sin is different. Held to a different standard. It is not. In the eyes of the Lord, all of our sins are equal, just as we are all equal. We all must repent and ask forgiveness. Also, since we have all sinned, then how are we to judge others?
Matthew 7: 1-4
“Don’t criticize, and then you won’t be criticized. For others will treat you as you treat them. And why worry about a speck in the eye of a brother when you have a board in your own? Should you say, ‘Friend, let me help you get that speck out of your eye,’ when you can’t even see because of the board in your own?”
Let us stop being angry for those being forgiven for the speck or even board in their eye. Let us see the board in ours, and remove it. Then we can really get down and help others the way God intended. With love, kindness, and forgiveness.
Have you ever been angry for someone who has been forgiven? Have you ever been forgiven and had someone angry at you for this? Leave a comment below to tell us about your experience, and how God guided you through it.