Saturday, October 7, 2023

 By: Grace Metzger

The Lord Replied, “Is it right for
you to be angry about this?
Jonah 4:4

Very recently I heard a sermon talking about the story of Jonah. If you grew up in church you are probably super familiar with this story. But it was when the pastor read this verse that it gave me a pause. I unfortunately struggled a lot with anger, both in the past and even the present. So I know what it’s like to be so  angry that you have a hard time even thinking clearly. But in this part of the story of Jonah, Jonah was sitting on a hill waiting to see Nineveh be destroyed. Instead when they heard the word of God they repented and gave their lives to the Lord. You would think this would overjoy Jonah, that he would be happy to see someone devote their life to God just as he has done. But instead this made him angry that God would show mercy on this awful place. He thought they didn’t deserve it.

Reading this part, you probably think that Jonah is just a horrible person to feel this way. If you’re like me you were quick to judge him for reacting that way towards a group of people who are now fellow believers. I thought a lot about this. I thought about how quick I was to get angry at stuff that I didn’t think was fair. How mad I get when someone who’s awful at their job is getting paid more than me. How upset I was when I met a person who was rude but also had so much money. I was quick to think, “It isn’t fair how God could bless these awful people,” as if I was a better person than them. It’s easier to judge others people’s action then to judge your own.

So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide
instead to live in such a way that you will not
cause another believer to stumble and fall.
Romans 14:13

Do you think the people of Nineveh saw Jonah sitting on the hill waiting on them to die? How would they feel knowing that someone who is supposed to be showing God’s love to them is upset that they are still alive? This could have caused someone to stumble in their faith. 

I know that a lot of people who condemn are not doing it with evil intentions. Most people aren’t out to hurt others. But when we start to condemn others we stop showing God’s love to others. 

So now there is no condemnation
for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1

God isn’t a God of shame and hatred, but a God of love and mercy. I like to relate this to the saying, “You catch more flies with honey then you do with vinegar.” We are there to lift each other up and live in peace with one another. We can support each other, not allow your brother or sister in Christ live in sin, without condemning them. There is always a way to do it with love. I truly believe that this is why a lot of people fall out of religion, because of the judgement of others. But when you come to a fellow believer in love and concern, with no hatred, anger, or condemnation, you are able to help them grow closer to God.

Discussion Question: Why do you think Jonah felt that way?

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