Reality Check

ACF17CE

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Have you ever been so angry at someone, and nurtured that anger for so long, that you grew to hate that person? No matter what anyone said positive about that person you couldn't see it. If that person was in peril, would you warn them? Would you wish them ill?

You see the person that you have grown to hate with a car coming at them, so you:

a) keep walking, it's not your fault
b) tell someone else to warn her/him.
c) reluctantly yell out a warning.
d) yell “Watch out!” and move to get them out of the way.

Analysis:

Let's look at these responses from Jonah's perspective. You remember Jonah. He was the prophet in the Old Testament. A parable was written in the Bible with Jonah as the main character. In chapter one of Jonah it starts out pretty much with “once upon a time.” No date is mentioned. No king of Israel is mentioned either. That's usually a clue in Biblical writings. The scribes were very careful to note the context of an historical event with who was king at the time. This parable was written to communicate something very important that God wanted the Israelites to know.

ACF17CEIn chapter one, Jonah's response was (a) God wanted Jonah to warn the Ninivites of their doom and call them to repentance. Jonah didn't want to because they were his enemies. So he kept walking. Jonah walks off and is riding on a ship in the sea in order to escape God's call. There is no (b), no one else to do God's bidding, to warn the Ninivites.

In chapter two, the big fish comes and swallows up Jonah. Jonah cries out to God and God has the fish spew Jonah out. Jonah has relented and in chapter three, Jonah, less then enthusiastically, goes to Niniveh to warn the Ninivites. They repent and are saved from doom.

Now, in chapter four, Jonah goes off angry that God saved the Ninivites.
They were still his enemy and he wanted the worst to happen to them, much like reply (c). Jonah still didn't get it. So, there he sits in the hot sun and a plant grows and gives him shade. Jonah is happy. But then the plant dies and Jonah is angry that the plant died. God points out to Jonah that Jonah had nothing to do with the creation of the plant yet Jonah is angry at it's demise. Yet, Jonah cannot understand why God would care for the people of Niniveh that God created.

God is the author of all life.
No matter how much we may resent or hate someone God still made them. They are made in God's image. Whether it's someone on death row, in their mother's womb, in a Third World country, or an enemy of our country, God still made them and cares deeply about them. We are all called, like Jonah, to care for all life. We may feel like Jonah sometimes. Why should we care about someone who we don't know or have never seen? But everyone matters.

There are many issues that we face today: capitol punishment, abortion, poverty, world hunger, euthanasia, pornography. They are all examples of our failure to recognize the value of every human life. We are called to preserve life and the quality of life. Jesus put it best when he said “What you do to the least of these you do to me.” Let us be among the sheep and not the goats. Let us care for one another, no matter who, no matter how we feel. Peace!

Love in Jesus,
Pat Rinker


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