Can we think of a time when we did not rejoice at another being showed grace?

Photo by Sandeep Swarnkar on Unsplash

In the fourth and final chapter of Jonah, we read he gets himself into a sulk. He isn’t happy that God has shown mercy to Nineveh. Remember he was given the job to go to Nineveh and persuade the people to change their ways. He didn't want the job hence the reason he ran the other way. He did not want Nineveh to be given a chance he wanted it destroyed.

Can we think of a time when we did not rejoice at another being showed grace?

Usually, it is because we see ourselves as a rival and we do not wish to see the rival shown favour.

Yet the concept of forgiveness is all about you have been forgiven so too are others. We like to place ourselves in a hierarchy of, “ I may have sinned but not as bad as they. You see those people at the bottom?”

In a conflict, it becomes more entrenched. Jonah was an Israelite and the people of Nineveh were Assyrians. That made them enemies. Yet God saw beyond the ethnic groups and saw his people and Jonah as his messenger. Jonah may have had spent his life praying for the downfall of Nineveh so being asked to bring an offer of mercy was not in his thinking.

He did it only because he feared God more than Nineveh.

We get this entertaining story where Jonah goes and sits waiting to see what happens to Nineveh. God causes a tree to grow and give him shade and he is happy. Then God sends a worm which eats the tree and it dies. Jonah complains and God says well if you can go from Mr Happy to Mr Sad in a night so too can I change my feelings towards Nineveh.

I wonder can we only truly change our feelings when we fully understand what it is to experience mercy. We may stand in judgement and bitterness against the other believing they deserve all coming to them never seeing that we from other eyes may be as equally as abhorrent.

If we experience the full power of forgiveness we would not deprive it of another knowing the restoration that it brings.

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Gordie Jackson

Gordie Jackson

Speaks with a Northern Irish accent, lives in Hertfordshire, England.