DEVOTION – DAY 86
Jonah 4:1-3 “Forgiving Others”
Jonah 4:1-3 “But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry, He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
In Jonah 3, God sent Jonah to warn the city of Nineveh about God’s coming judgment for their evil ways. The people of Nineveh believed Jonah’s warning and repented. Instead of being happy for the people of Nineveh, Jonah was angry. He knew that God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Jonah knew that God would relent if the people of Nineveh repented of their sinful ways. That was why instead of going to Nineveh as God instructed, Jonah at first went in the opposite direction away from Nineveh towards the city of Tarshish. But God redirected Jonah back to Nineveh. In anger, Jonah even asked God to let him die rather than see God spare the city of Nineveh.
Jonah wanted God to spare his own nation and himself when they have sinned but he wanted God to punish their enemies. Many of us are like Jonah. When it comes to our own sins, we want God to be merciful and forgive us of our sins. But we are also quick to ask God to punish people we do not like for their sins. Isn’t that true? We thank God that He is not like us. God is merciful and compassionate. He is slow to anger and He is loving. He does not want to see anyone punished if possible and He gets no joy from punishing people.
Clayton Fountain was convicted in 1974 for the murder of a fellow army sergeant and sentenced to life imprisonment. Whilst in prison, he managed to kill 3 prisoners and a prison officer. Because he was considered violent, he was placed under solitary confinement. In isolation, he read the Bible and converted to become a Catholic. He even went on to study and get 2 degrees and a Master of Arts in Religious Studies through distance learning courses, before dying unexpectedly of a heart attack. Many rejoiced when he was placed in isolation but God worked in his heart and he repented and converted. No sin was too bad that God cannot forgive. We can thank God that He is full of compassion and mercy.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, we praise you for you are gracious, merciful and full of compassion. Thank you for forgiving us of our sins when we confess and repent before you. Please help us to be forgiving and merciful to others who may have wronged us. In the great name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
- How do you usually react to people who have wronged you?
- What have you learnt from this devotion about forgiving others? What changes will you make about forgiving others?
- What have you learnt about God from this devotion?