Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Peppered With Pout
“Should I not have compassion on Ninevah, the great city?” Jonah 4:11.
In considering the Book of Jonah the reader is left with more questions than answers as Jonah begrudgingly obeyed God, but stewed in his emotions as we turn the final page. Did he and God wrestle over this subject for years to come? Did Jonah remain near the city pointing out to God and others the Ninevites transgressions? Did Jonah finally surrender his position of bitterness and frustration, and fully engage in his previous life with the blessings God had given him? The thing we know for sure is that we will never know on this side of heaven. The Bible is silent on the ending of Jonah’s story because we are not meant to know. It doesn’t really matter what appeared on the surface of Jonah’s life because God could read the walls of his heart. Only God knows how his story ended and only God knows how our story will end when it comes to the way we truly feel about others.
God is a speed reader when looking upon our heart no matter what we portray on the outside. We may fool others and maybe even ourselves through our smiles and calm exterior, but inside there still wages a bitter war against others we judge. God knows what is deeply rooted in our hearts…our minds…our attitudes. On the surface, our story may look to be a story of taking the high road…forgiveness…peacefulness, but our secret story line is still peppered with pout instead of seasoned with salt.
God encourages us in Colossians 4:6 to ‘Let your conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt.’ This doesn’t mean surface conversations cowardly hidden behind smiles but the conversation we have with God. We must genuinely have a desire to release bitterness, offering full mercy and grace, apart from the actions of others. To fully engage in the spiritual life God has written for us, we must fully disengage from our sense of entitlement. We cannot try to write an ending to another person’s story or we just might find ourselves sitting under a withered vine.