Summary: We want God's grace given to us but we're not as happy when God's grace is extended to the person who hurt us. This message looks at Jonah's anger and what God expects of us toward those who've hurt us.
WHAT GOD BELIEVES: We want God’s actions to line up with our pre-existing beliefs.
- We want God to work within the confines of our pre-existing beliefs and values. We don’t want to have to go through the hard work of changing what we think and believe.
- We want to love God and be a good Christian without having to change any of our prejudices and opinions.
- Let’s talk for a second about our pre-existing beliefs as Democrats, Republicans, Americans, etc.
- You may be a Democrat, but that doesn’t change God’s love for the unborn.
- You may be a Republican, but that doesn’t change God’s heart for the poor.
- You may be an American, but that doesn’t change Jesus’ warnings about the dangers about a materialistic lifestyle.
- We always need to remember that the Kingdom of God and the American Dream do not have compatible values.
- Have a dollar sign “heart” on butcher paper. Take the cross “heart” that God wants us to have and start ripping parts of the cross off to “make it fit.”
- There are times when we’re angry at God for allowing something unexpected (a tragedy or a struggle). Less thought about but just as common is when we’re angry at God for doing exactly what He said He would. Jonah here is mad at God for doing exactly what Jonah knew that He would do.
- Very few are willing to truly come as much as possible as a blank slate to the Bible and let it fill us.
- We are sinful, God is holy – we’re going to butt heads.
- We want happiness, God wants holiness – we’re going to butt heads.
- We want to put self first, God wants us to put Him first – we’re going to butt heads.
- We want to spend money on comfort and lifestyle, God wants us to expand the Kingdom – we’re going to butt heads.
AN ESPECIALLY EXPLOSIVE AREA: I like God’s love and grace generally, but not when it’s applied to the person I can’t stand.
- Jonah 4:2.
- Jonah is not against what verse 2 says generally: that God is a God of grace, compassion, patience, love, and mercy. He’s against that being applied to people he hates.
- When you read his statement as a whole, it’s very ironic: Jonah is complaining that God is all these good things.
- We’re often the same way, though. We love the good things about God until it shines positively on someone we are holding a grudge against.
- Bitterness feels good while you’re in it.
- God’s love is not a generic “love,” but it’s very specific in what He intends to do and what He wants us to do.
- No one objects to generic “love” – the problem is when you start getting specific.
AN IMPORTANT REMINDER: When I complain about someone sinning against me, I need to remember that I have sinned against others.
- I know there are objections to what I’m saying:
- “You don’t know what she did!”
- “He doesn’t deserve it!”
- “That’s not what I want!”
- “He lied to me!” Yes he did and that was wrong. But in your response you have to consider the fact that you’ve lied to.
- “She hurt me!” Yes, she did and that was wrong. But in your response you have to consider the fact that you’ve hurt people too.
- “He let me down!” Yes, he did and that was wrong. But in your response you have to consider the fact that you’ve let people down too.
- This does not excuse their sin. They are still guilty.
- But we do have to factor into our response the fact that we’ve been guilty before too. And probably of the same things, although perhaps in different ways.
- There is a difference between forgiving sin and excusing sin. We are not excusing sin (pretending like they didn’t do anything wrong). We are forgiving sin (acknowledging that they did something wrong, but that we still hope for good things (including repentance and a change of heart) for them).
EXPLOSIVES THAT GOD SETS OFF:
1. WE NEED TO TRY TO RECONCILE BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS, EVEN IF WE'RE NOT AT FAULT.
- Matthew 5:23.
- A typical attitude toward someone having a bad attitude toward us is “I’m willing to listen to him if he comes and apologizes.”
- This verse doesn’t tell us that we have to apologize if we haven’t done anything wrong, but it does tell us that it is our responsibility to go to that person and try to work things out.
- The most that many Christians will own in this kind of situations is that God would probably want me to go make it right if I’m the one who caused the problem. In fact, it says to go if someone has something against us – that doesn’t limit it to situations where I was the cause of the problem.