LIFE Point Archives
Blinded By Hate
by Greg McCowen
Have you ever judged someone by past
experience? Have you ever wanted to see someone pay for that experience? Jonah
was such a person. You see, Jonah was called by God to go to Nineveh to warn of
impending judgement by GOD. He was to warn them that they would be destroyed
unless they repented for their sins. Pretty simple message...turn or burn.
However, Jonah had a preconceived prejudice towards that group of people. As a
matter of fact, he had a death wish for them. He wanted them to be
destroyed. So, instead of warn them, he decided to go on a trip far away from
Nineveh. Funny thing about taking trips that are motivated by anger, bitterness,
and hate...they usually end with our own misery. In Jonah's case it was no
different! As you probably know, his disobedience to God resulted in a stormy
experience that cost his sailing mates their precious cargo. It also resulted in
a three day tour inside a "great fish" that ultimately brought Jonah to his
knees in penitent prayer! Soon afterwards he was extracting himself from fish
vomit and heading toward Nineveh! Understand this...he was going there under
duress. He still wanted God to destroy the people of Nineveh! His heart
was not in line with God's heart!
Briefly consider your own bouts with pride
and prejudice. Is there anyone you know, or any group of people for that matter,
that you have ought against? Is there a root of bitterness inside your heart? A
good litmus test for this condition is called anger reflection. Does a certain
person, race, religion, gender, or other make you angry for no other reason than
a past experience with the same? If so, you probably are having a form of the
Jonah Syndrome. You know...a condition that causes you to act irrationally
toward others when the Lord Jesus Himself is asking you to love them
unconditionally. It is an understandable condition. Unfortunately, it is not an
acceptable one in God's sight...and trust me, He sees everything!
Jonah went throughout the streets of
Nineveh sounding the alarm. I'm sure he wasn't smiling! But he did
accomplish the task. The king of Nineveh decreed that the whole city repent.
They did! With sackcloth and ashes! Now it is interesting how Jonah responded.
He didn't rejoice! He wasn't glad they had turned to God! No! In fact it made
him mad! He wanted to die! He even implored God to take his life! Strange how
Jonah was so in tune with judgment and yet so out of touch with mercy and
forgiveness! He went out on a hill outside of town, hoping against hope that God
would destroy them anyway! Why?! Because he couldn't get over himself! He
could not relinquish his own judgement of the people God chose to save!
Therefore, in selfish resentment of their new found grace, Jonah sat
fuming...hoping for a reversal of that grace!
In the meantime, God caused a plant to
grow up over Jonah "to deliver him from his misery". It shielded him from the
intense heat of the sun. Jonah enjoyed the plant. He received the blessing God
so easily provided! He relished the shade and remained on the hill to see what
would become of the city. God sent a worm that devoured the plant. God sent a
"vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah's head, so that he grew faint".
Jonah became even more angry about the situation! His anger about the plant
being eaten was off the charts! He passed judgement upon himself! For the second
time in as many days, "He said, It is better for me to die than to live."
God inquired of Jonah. "Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?" In
other words, you didn't create the plant, it was there because of Me. I can do
as I wish with the plant, and you for that matter. Jonah replied, "It is right
for me to be angry, even to death!"
God chided Jonah for his anger. He tried
to help Jonah understand that He had made the plant and He had
created the people of Nineveh as well. He wanted Jonah to realize how absurd it
was to be so angry about the death of a simple plant, while eagerly wishing for
the demise of more than a hundred and twenty thousand people. God's infinite
wisdom is beautifully displayed in this story! It is as obvious as the sweet
shade of refuge and the vehement east wind! God is sovereign! He can save and
restore anyone at anytime. He doesn't have to receive your approval. God's love
goes beyond our prejudice. It goes beyond our sense of pride! God's love can
cover a multitude of sins. It can restore the most hopeless person on the
planet. Yet apparently, we can experience God's BEST in regard to forgiveness
and restoration (i.e. - Jonah), and still miss the point of that love by
allowing past hurts and un-forgiveness to blind us spiritually! Wow! Jonah
couldn't see past his bias! Even when God was spelling it out for him, he just
didn't get it...or receive it...whichever the case may be.
What about us? Do we have a Jonah Syndrome
Disorder? Are we supposed Christ followers who harshly judge, discriminate
against, and inevitably hate others?! Are there people in this world that God
created, who are not worthy of the forgiveness of Christ Jesus? Are we better
than others who are obviously in sin, if secretly we hate the same? Jesus died
for us while we were yet sinners. He didn't wait for us to get
cleaned up before He saved us! Jesus offered both thieves the same mercy and
grace on the cross! The fact that one believed and the other didn't isn't the
only point. The point is, Jesus isn't a respecter of persons. He doesn't
determine your fate. You do! He merely offers the same perfect love to anyone
who will receive it! Do we offer the love of Jesus to everyone in that manner?
Or, do we only parcel it out to those we deem worthy? If we are sinful people,
we are worthy of God's grace. Why you might ask? Because Jesus shed His blood on
Calvary for the same. Jesus came to earth so "that all might have life, and have
it more abundantly"! The word "all" is the point! Jesus would have forgiven both
thieves on the cross! He was dying so that both of them might live! But only one
received the gift of eternal life. God didn't ask Jonah to determine the
worthiness of the people of Nineveh. He asked Jonah to go and warn them of the
consequences of continuing in their sin. God doesn't ask you or me to determine
the worthiness of others to receive His love. He asks us to "go and preach the
gospel to every creature (person)". Will we? Will we ask the Lord to remove our
spiritual blinders? Will we look past the past to see what God can do today, and
in the future? I pray we will! Until next time, be blessed with God's BEST!
Your Partner In Ministry,