Forgiveness can be hard. Sometimes we know we’re supposed to forgive someone or something and there is this thing inside us that just won’t allow it. Sometimes, we’ve tried to forgive and we want to move on from something but we seem to just be brought right back into the anger and judgment and pain like it was new. Maybe it’s ongoing. Maybe you’re trying to forgive, but the pain is happening over and over and over. So, forget thinking about forgiving, you’re mostly just trying to avoid any more of the pain. Forgiveness is not even on the radar, because how do you forgive someone when the action is ongoing and they haven’t even asked for forgiveness?
In Jonah’s story, we see a guy who held onto some bitterness. He struggled first with going to do as God said in the beginning. He didn’t want to risk going there to preach. He finally does and when God moves in their lives and they all repent, Jonah gets upset. He didn’t want God to relent. He didn’t want God to forgive. He didn’t want them to get out of it. He didn’t want God to save them, he wanted God to destroy them.
Often, this is how we feel about our enemies. We pray that God destroy them, and we never ask God to heal them. We pray that God would bring down the fire and not for him to pour out mercy. Jonah’s heart was callous and he didn’t see God doing something. He missed God making a great thing happen because he was too caught up in God not judging them the way he wanted.
Who have you hoped judgment on? Who have you hardened your heart towards? Do you have a habit of leaning towards forgiveness of judgment?
God wants us to forgive the way he forgives. Do you?