Summary: This sermons highlights the prison of unforgiveness and the power of forgiveness.
PRISON OF UNFORGIVENESS
By : Ng Wah Lok
Text : Jonah 1:1-5, 3:1 – 4:3
This week’s major news – Amish killings
10 young school girls shot execution style– ages 6 – 13 by Charles Robert. 5 were dead and 5 others seriously injured . Dead included Naomi Rose Ebersole, 7; Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12; Marian Fisher, 13; Mary Liz Miller, 8; and her sister Lena Miller, 7. Stoltzfus’ sister was among the wounded.
A- Killer - Charles Robert
- Man who delivered milk to the community.
– 9 years ago, his young baby died 20 minutes after delivery. As a result , he was angry with God.
– 20 years ago, he says he molested 2 young relatives. He says he was having dreams of doing it again.
Suicide note of Charles Robert’s anger
In the suicide notes, Roberts also said he was haunted by the death of his prematurely born daughter in 1997. The baby, Elise, died 20 minutes after being delivered, Miller said.
Elise’s death "changed my life forever," Roberts wrote to his wife. "I haven’t been the same since it affected me in a way I never felt possible. I am filled with so much hate, hate toward myself hate towards God and unimaginable emptyness it seems like everytime we do something fun I think about how Elise wasn’t here to share it with us and I go right back to anger."
B) Armish victim’s family responded with forgiveness
- Leaders of the Armish ask the people to forgive the killer and not to look at him with evil in their hearts.
- Killer’s widow was invited to the funeral service
- Armish community have asked for a fund to be raised for the killer’s children.
Jonah’s downward spiral due to unforgiveness and anger
1. Jonah was called to preach to the people of Nineveh
Jonah 1:1-2 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,2 "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me."
2. Jonah responded by running away from God. Jonah 1:3
Jonah 1:3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
Down – mentioned 4 times – v3,v5
Down to Joppa – v3
Down into it….from the presence of God – v3
Down into lowest part of the ship – v5
“Down” into the sea – v15
“Down” into the fish – v17
If we run away from God, we can only go downwards.
3. Jonah was struggling with anger towards Nineveh because they had previously dealt harshly with Israel.
Nineveh was the capital of Assyria who were cruel to Israel. Being a prophet, Jonah probably know that Assyria will one day conquer and take Israel captive.
He refused to forgive the Ninevites even though God wanted to give them a chance to repent.
Jonah 4:1-3 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.2 So he prayed to the LORD, and said, "Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, one who relents from doing harm.
4. Jonah anger began to turn inwards and he became self destructive ( suicidal) because of his inward anger.
Jonah 4:3-4 Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!" 4 Then the LORD said, "Is it right for you to be angry?"
Jonah 4:9 Then God said to Jonah, "Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?" And he said, "It is right for me to be angry, even to death!"
Let us answer 2 questions on unforgiveness.
Q1 – What happens when we do not forgive ?
When we do not forgive, our relationship with God is broken as God says He will not forgive our sins. When that happens, we spiral downwards. Hence , unforgiveness is a very serious sin.
Matt 6:14-15 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Unforgiveness will eventually destroy us as it will lead to anger in our hearts. Let us see the results of unforgiveness.
a) Unforgiveness will lead to anger directed at 3 directions
i) Anger towards others. – Jonah 4:1-3
Jonah was angry towards the Ninevites
ii) Anger towards self – Jonah 4:3