Summary: A look at the personal resentments that we hold onto as well as how God expects us to change to see those people the way He does.
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.
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.
- 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.
- “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.
2. GOD SAYS THAT IF YOU DON'T FORGIVE THEM, HE WON'T FORGIVE YOU.
- This is a brutal verse. I’ve said before that the “if” in this verse might be the scariest word in the whole Bible.
- As I mentioned before, there is a difference between forgiving and excusing. 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). That doesn’t change the fact, though, that we are required to forgive.
3. GOD WANTS TO SAVE, CHANGE, AND BLESS THE PERSON YOU CAN'T STAND.