Fleeing to Tarshish


This morning I read the book of Jonah during breakfast.  A thought crossed my mind about Jonah that I guess I just never thought about before.  I am a lot like Jonah.  Not the Jonah that decided he would not preach the Gospel to Ninevah, but the Jonah at the end of the book that was upset that Ninevah was saved.

When reading or watching the news and seeing the way people are killing other people or are robbing stores and shooting the store clerk or the man trying to steal a car and in order to get away tries to run cops over, I seem to have the attitude all to often of hoping these people have a speedy and just trial and then only have a short time on death row.  However, this is the same if not worse attitude that Jonah had.  Being completely honest Jonah said in Jonah 4:2 that God's mercy was exactly why he did not want to preach to the Ninevites in the first place.  Jonah wanted these people punished not only by the complete destruction of the city, like Sodom and Gomorrah, but also by eternal damnation.

This to is how I think when not thinking clearly.  When I am thinking clearly I must realize that these murderers, or those who we are at war against right now are no worse than I am.  There is not anything that keeps me from picking up a weapon and walking into my work or Publix and opening fire, save the Grace of God.  Who am I to wish death on someone like Ted Bundy or the like who God can absolutely save even from a life of murder or any other "horrible" sins?  Why should I expect God to forgive my sins if I can not forgive the sins of others?

When I think of my sin properly, the littlest sin deserves eternity apart from God.  Being forgiven of my sins (and they are not few) should make me quick to forgive those who sin against me.  Jonah was so angry that these pagan Ninevites were turning to God that he wanted to die.  My sinful tendency would be to agree with Jonah (especially when reading what the Ninevites did), but as God told Jonah later in Jonah 4:11, He would much rather bring 120,000 souls to Himself then to destroy them permanently.  Should we not desire the same thing?

Photo:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/mpk/ / CC BY-SA 2.0