Jonah 4:4 Then the Lord said, “is it right for you to be angry?” We live in a meritocracy, which means that if we put in some effort/time/resource, we expect that we get out some yield on that effort/time/resource. It’s the reason why we work hard, not just at our jobs, but in raising our kids, improving our marriages and even on deepening our relationship with God. Now God honors our efforts, and he wants us to co-labor with him, but this input/output equation represents the ways of the world, not the ways of the Father. In one of my two favorite bible stories of all time, Jonah openly rebels against God’s will to save Ninevah, because it’s not fair from the meritocratic viewpoint of the world. As a part of the Assyrian empire, which brutally oppressed God’s chosen people, skinned people alive, and invented torture methods including crucifixion, Jonah felt it was not fair that God wanted to redeem that city. If God today sent us to bless Hitler, or the KKK, we might have a similar reaction. But in reality we have all experienced grace, and grace doesn’t care how hard you worked at your job, your marriage or even being nice to people. If it did we’d all be in deep trouble, because we all fall short of God’s standard. Yet how often we fail to express that same grace that we have been so blessed to receive ourselves. A friend and mentor sent me this sermon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yF2QqOet6OM that spurred some of these thoughts, and in it the Pastor challenges us to extend grace to those who have wronged us. I’m undergoing that process now through our inner healing ministry, and I’ll say it’s one of the toughest and at the same time one of the most liberating things I’ve ever experienced. Lord thank you for your grace. I sometimes fail to extend the same grace to those around me. I know you’re asking me today “is it right for you to be angry?” as you asked Jonah so long ago. I commit my plans to you, and ask for your strength to extend grace to those who don’t deserve it, just as I don’t deserve it. In your son’s name, Amen.
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