Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Tue, 13/09/2011 – 10:12
Year A (2010-2011)
Bible Book: Jonah / Jona
Text: Jonah 3:10 – 4:11
Jonah, a man full of hatred and prejudice, wanted the Ninevites to be destroyed. His prejudice sent him on a foolish game of hide and seek from the Almighty God. But because God is patient, he followed him until he went back on track. Jonah preached the message to people he hated; he hated the Ninevites for their cruelty toward the Israelites and did not want them to be forgiven.
He only preached because he was forced to and did not expect any resultsfrom his preaching. Surprisingly enough, the Ninevites heard the message and repented. Their repentance made Jonah so angry that he wanted to die because God changed His mind and spared their lives.
When the people have hurt us deeply, it is usually easy to hate them and to want vengeance. The hurt creates hatred and bitterness in us that threatens our healing (spiritual and emotional healing) process. Yes, it scares us to think of forgiving those who have hurt us and it scares us to think that not releasing our hatred will condone the bad things people have done to us.
This might be the feeling of some people infected by HIV toward the people that infected them. They have the desire of revenge to the point of destroying their very own lives. Yes, it is allowed to let anger out, but remember: Anger can sometimes produce the poison of selfishness in the heart. And holding to hatred and bitterness can easily become a defect of character. Bitterness alone can destroy our peace; it can take away our joy and delay our acceptance process.
The only favour we can do for ourselves is to learn that we cannot remove bitterness on our own. We need to invite and allow God to change us, to change our hearts and change our behaviour. That is the only route to take toward forgiving those who infected us. The process of forgiveness is not easy, especially when bitterness has set in. We can see the example from Jonah: God had to use the storm, a great fish, a large plant, a small worm and a scorching wind in order to convince Jonah.
Good people, I hope you are aware that the only thing God wants from us is to be willing to let him be God and allow him to work in our hearts in order to give us peace that will lead to forgiveness.
When we look at Jonah, we see the servant that works half heartedly. (I am now speaking to the affected) i.e, all of us: Look at how Jonah felt pity for the dead plant, and yet failed to be compassionate toward the multitude of lost men, women and children of Nineveh. Many of us have cried over the death of a pet or a broken ornament, but would not be bothered by the suffering people living with HIV & AIDS. Jonah cared more of his own physical comfort than he did for God’s will for His lost nation.
Some of us are willing to care, as long as we benefit from the activity. (Sure, you can add your examples to this).
To think about: Dear friends, what motivates you to care? Is your attitude like Jonah’s (self- centered and unforgiving)? Are your outward actions a true reflection of your inner being? You don’t have to answer me, but God knows! Be blessed!
Author: Ackerman D (Dr) and Lundo J