I was reading the Book of Jonah this morning and Jonah’s heart posture stood out to me in greater measure than ever before.
(If you haven’t read the Book of Jonah, I encourage you to stop reading and go do so. This will help tremendously as you continue to read. )
What I came to see was that after Jonah had reluctantly obeyed God and after Jonah had been shown mercy, He had a really hard time dishing out to Ninevah what He has just been given. In fact, Jonah was angry at God for forgiving the people of Ninevah so much so He wanted to die. But, God came back with a question and I believe it is important for us to ask ourselves too.
We need to ask ourselves this question, do I have a right to be angry about this? Or is this what God has ordained?
We should never look at someone angrily because of a repentant heart. It doesn’t matter the weight of the sin, God looks at murder, gossip, and a white lie all the same. It is sin that needs to be forgiven. And truth be told, we all have fallen short and are in need of forgiveness.
You see, Jonah had became apathetic towards God’s own work-God’s people. We can learn from Jonah’s example that it is important to watch ourselves for pride or a biased expectation in the way we believe things should go. We must watch when we attempt to take place of God in judgment if we are not looking through the same heart of love God has for who He has created.
Rather, we should have an eagerness to willingly obey God and trust Him for whatever results obedience may bring. He desires no one to perish. We must look at everyone through eyes of love, mercy, and forgiveness.
If we cannot do this, we must check to see if our hearts have grown cold towards the very thing God loves most, His creation, His people.
When we are going through conflict we should remember these two things:
1. As God asked Jonah, do we have a right to angry about this? (See Jonah 4:4)
2. We also must remember the heart of the Father.
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
Psalms 86:5 NKJV
Unlike the example of Jonah, let us willingly obey the Lord without reluctance or apprehension and through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, give what God has delighted to give us.