This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.” The Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?”
Dear God, ah, the part of the story no one ever tells. Jesus actually told at least two parables that I can think of off of the top of my head that describe Jonah here. One is the parable of the workers who were hired at different times during the day, and the other is how Jesus describes the older son in the Prodigal Son parable. I’m sure if I were to think about it more I could think of other instances in scripture that describe a similar frustration with your mercy.
I used to know a Muslim who had a hard time accepting Christianity because it taught a mercy that was too easy and not earned—at least not earned enough beyond asking for it. Now, as I sit here and think about it, I wonder if this repeated message of the “good” person who cannot extend mercy is meant for me too. Is there any part of your mercy I resent you giving to someone? Is there a part of me that withholds telling someone about you because I don’t think they deserve to find you and have you redeem them?
Father, I can’t think of anyone right now, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a blindness to my own judgmental attitude towards others. So please open my eyes so I can see open my ears so I can hear. Open my heart so I can forgive and love.
In Jesus’s name I pray,