Scripture: Jonah 4:2
In this book—which only has four chapters—there is a valuable message. One of the most important things we can learn from the disobedience of this prophet of the Lord, Jonah, is that you can run, but you cannot hide from the Lord. Another great lesson we learn from this story is that God always gives warnings before He releases His wrath.
Jonah was directed to give a warning to the people of Nineveh to turn from their sins and wicked ways or they would be destroyed, but because Nineveh was an enemy of Israel, Jonah chose to run away from this assignment by boarding a ship that was headed the opposite direction to Tarshish. Jonah knew there was a possibility that if he went and gave this word of warning to the residents of Nineveh, they would listen and God, therefore, would not release His wrath on them.
As children of God, we should always want the best even for our enemies. In the book of Matthew—chapter 5, verse 44—it tells us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Jonah needed to learn this lesson the hard way, so God prepared a big fish to swallow Jonah on his way traveling to Tarshish. Jonah found himself in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights. God has a way of capturing our attention when He wants to.
God has commissioned us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves and to do unto our neighbor as we wish for others to do unto us. We sometimes forget that although our enemies may not be friendly or agreeable towards us, it is not our job to wish bad or evil things on them because even our enemies are God’s children.
I can personally recall when I was going through a rough patch in my life with a certain individual. I would pray for that person every day, despite of all the evil and bad things they had done to me. It was because of this that I believe God gave me victory over my enemy at that time. I can attest that it’s not always easy to forgive someone who has done harmful things to you in your life, but I know from personal experience that it can be rewarding if you can find it in your heart to forgive others.
Forgiveness leads to power and favor in your own life. It eliminates all stress and hate from your heart when you forgive. When God calls you to do something nice for someone who may have disrespected you in some way, He is setting you up for a supernatural blessing to come your way. Jonah missed out on that blessing. He was a sour soul—and that you never want to become.
Remember that we all have faults and, at one point, we’ve likely said something to someone that was not kind or might have been disrespectful. God has forgiven us for our sins—and as His followers, we are to do the same for others because God loves us all the same. God bless!