Is It Right For You To Be Angry?

Jonah is an interesting character in the Bible. At church yesterday, the message was about Jonah, and Pastor Kevin really gave me some things to think about. 

Jonah was tasked by God to take his message to the Ninevites. Nineveh is the capital of Assyria, and there is no love lost between the Assyrians and the Israelites. In 701 BC, the city's king, Sennacherib, laid waste to Jerusalem. To say the least, Jonah was very unhappy to be called to speak to the Ninevites. So much so that he fled God's presence to Tarshish aboard a large ship.

The ship was being pelted by storms and high waves. Jonah admitted to the crew what he had done, why he was running, and that it was probably his fault that the ship was in trouble. He told the men to take hold of him and throw him overboard, as he would rather drown to death than take God's message of hope to those evil Ninevites. His life was spared by God, and in chapter three, he is asked once again to go to Nineveh. 

This time, he spitefully went. He said eight words to the Ninevites, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown." That was as much as he was willing to share with them. No words of grace or God's love. Just a verse that says that they will be overthrown. Surely the people wouldn't listen to him and be destroyed, and he had discharged his assignment of what God asked of him. A win-win!

To Jonah's shock, the Ninevites believed in God because of his words -- even their king! Jonah was angry. He did not want mercy shown to these people. He knew God was slow to anger, abounding in great kindness, and relented from doing harm. This angered him even further. He was so upset about God's compassion toward the Ninevites that he asked God to take his life right then and there. He would have rather died than show even a modicum of compassion to the Ninevites.

God asked him, "Is it right for you to be angry?"

Jonah didn't answer as he knew what the answer would be. He then went to get comfortable in a place where he could ride out this whole ordeal of God giving his compassion to people who deserved to burn. God caused a plant to cover him to shade his head. Jonah liked that. Comfort is in style in Christendom! God then sent a worm to attack the plant and it withered. When it did, the sun was beating down on Jonah's head and made him feel faint. He said to God, "Death is better to me than life." He would rather die than be uncomfortable showing grace to the undeserving Ninevites. 

Again, God asked, "Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?"

Jonah replied, "Yes it is right for me to be angry, even unto death."

God said, "you had compassion on a plant that you had nothing to do with, and yet I shouldn't have compassion on Nineveh, where there were 120,000 people who didn't know their left hand from their right? And animals, too?" 

Basically God was saying, these people need me. They need me and I need to show them my compassionate nature. Presently they were turning to God out of fear of annihilation because of Jonah's less than compassionate message. Fear of hell is a powerful evangelistic tool!

I see a disturbing parallel here. Like the Ninevites, the LGBT+ community needs to see the compassionate side of God, and many evangelicals would rather die than show it to them. Instead they hoist signs that say, "God Hates Fags." They spew every manner of judgment on the gay community, while gluttony, gossip, and greed go unchecked in the Church-at-large. Instead of showing grace, they rally to elect a President who will support their "anti-Ninevite" policies. 

Meanwhile, the community of LGBT+ cower in fear of a God who allegedly hates them and wants to destroy them. Jesus cleared the temple, and they will too, by God! God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and by God we will destroy the gays before they take over the world! God is wrath! God is just! Fear the Lord, for this is the beginning of wisdom. 

I believe God is saying today that the evangelicals are comfortable under their plants of big-buildings and political influence. God is saying that there are real people, LGBT+ and others, who need his compassion and grace showed to them desperately. The evangelicals would rather die than do so. They are more obsessed with pointing out who is NOT going to heaven than who is. It upsets them that God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in great kindness, and relents from doing the LGBT+ harm, when they clearly deserve eternal punishment. 

All that's missing from this present reality is a big fish of revival to swallow all of this graceless religion up and spit it back out. When will we learn that God's compassion and grace apply to everyone, not just those that agree with your theology and politics. We are talking about real people who desire to love and serve the Lord. The LGBT+ are not our enemy. I believe they will be the catalysts of the next great awakening in America. God help us to share his message of hope, not just with words, but with our lives!

Bright blessings,


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