Reflections on Jonah

He prayed to the Lord and said, ‘Please Lord, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life…’Then the Lord said, ‘You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?’” (Jonah 4:10-11)

“Salvation is from the Lord” (Jonah 2:9d)

Prejudice is a pervasive evil fueled by the fires of jealousy, anger, and deceit. And “the people of God” are not exempt from being infected. Even in the times of Jonah did this flourish.

The most terrifying thing about prejudice among Christian circles is this: prejudice so distorts our view of other human beings that they become mere objects of disposal, not deserving of the goodness and grace that God promises to show to all who turn to Him.

Sometimes the very people who need to meet Jesus the most are the very people whom our hearts despise the most.

And sometimes the ill nature of our words and thoughts reveal the true position of our hearts; that even we have not repented and clung to the mercy offered to us by Jesus on the cross.

We know that Jonah’s last words – words said directly to God Himself – were, “I have good reason to be angry, even to death.” (Jonah 4:9b) Jonah’s story ends on this note, with a rebuke from the Lord God.

Will you allow prejudice to consume you? Will you plead with God to not show grace towards others because you have objectified them?

How will your story end?

Do not let jealousy, anger, and the deceitfulness of your own heart control your experience of the wonders and grace of God.

Let it go. And let Him open the eyes of your heart to see the world anew; to see the nations and all of their beautiful uniqueness the way that He sees it.

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’ And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, ‘[We agree!], blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might,be to our God forever and ever. Amen.’” (Revelation 7:9-12)

A prayer: Lord, my heart is deceitful above all else. And I cannot cure it. God, it is true. I do not see people who are different from me the way that you see them. God, I have turned certain individuals, certain groups, into objects of disposal. Please, God, give me the eyes to see and the wisdom to understand your grace. Your Spirit lives in me God. And your Spirit desires that all come to know you. Lord, you have revealed beforehand that I will be standing with multitudes of people from every tribe, from every language, from every skin color; I will be standing with them worshiping you. God, help me to love them now. Help me to see them as those that need you as much as I need you. May you be merciful to me in my shortcomings, for I know that there is no condemnation for those who are in You. Amen.

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