But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. 2 So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”
4 Then the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
5 So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city. 6 And the Lord God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. 7 But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. 8 And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”
10 But the Lord said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?”
I want us to consider the question God ask Jonah, I think it is a question that He asks many of us, "Is it right for you to be angry? Many of you will justify and rationalize many reasons why it is right for you to be angry. You may talk of the hurt that was done to you. You may talk about how your family was wronged. You may not feel like there is anyway you can set things straight. You may even feel you are not the one at fault, so you shouldn't have to set things straight. The bottom line is all those trains of thought are all about YOU. Jonah was mad and his anger was not justified. He sinned and did not do what God told him to do, he ran from God, putting the lives of many people in jeopardy, and eventually found himself in the belly of a fish. Finally, all He could do was repent and ask God to forgive him. Jonah knew God to be a merciful God, Jonah 4:2... "for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm." God being the God Jonah knew Him to be, gave Jonah a second chance. Jonah knew God was a patient and merciful God, yet when God showed who He was, to the people of Nineveh it angered Jonah. It is an unfortunate thing when Jesus has done so much for us, when He has touched our lives in such a real and powerful way, when He has forgiven us for so much, when He has extended His hand of acceptance to us and loved us when we didn't deserve it, yet we can't extend that forgiveness to others. Sometimes, we just want to stay mad. Staying mad allows us to do what we want to do. Staying mad allows us to get off by ourself and just focus on the big I. Sadly, staying mad perpetuates our sin and keeps us from Jesus and His love and tenderness. Jesus has forgiven us for much, may we understand what He has done for us and extend forgiveness to those around us. The alternative is to reason through your unforgiveness, somehow convince yourself you are right, thus causing you to stand firm in sin. Well in the process, peace will leave you, sin will overtake you, and your heart will become hardened. In the end, the agony of a broken heart, the pain of unforgiveness, and the torment of anger will consume you. Keep in mind Matthew 6:15, "But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." It is not about you convincing me or anyone else in the world you are right. I don't matter, your friends don't matter, your family doesn't matter. The bottom line, it is what Jesus says through His Word that matters and matters greatly.
Brother Big Daddy