Thursday: Forgiven, Yet Unforgiving

Read Jonah 4 .

Image © Steve Creitz from

Image © Steve Creitz from

What important lessons did Jonah need to learn? How is his own hypocrisy revealed here?

Jonah 4 reveals some startling things about the prophet. He seems to prefer to die rather than to witness about God’s grace and forgiveness. Whereas before Jonah had rejoiced in his deliverance from death (Jon. 2:7-9), now that Nineveh lives he prefers to die (Jon. 4:2-3).

In contrast to Jonah, God is pictured in the Bible as someone who takes “no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezek. 33:11, NKJV). Jonah and many of his compatriots rejoiced in God’s special mercies to Israel but wished only His wrath on their enemies. Such hardness of heart is rebuked sternly by the book’s message.

What are some of the lessons we can learn from Jonah’s mistakes? How does prejudice compromise our Christian testimony?

It rightly has been observed that Jonah’s book is a handbook on how not to be a prophet. Jonah was a prophet of rebellious spirit and mistaken priorities. He could not control his desire for vengeance. He was small-minded and ill-tempered. Instead of rejoicing in the grace that God also showed to the Ninevites, Jonah allowed his selfish and sinful pride to make him resentful.

Jonah’s last word is a wish for death (Jon. 4:8-9), while God’s last word is an affirmation of His immeasurable grace, an affirmation for life.

Jonah’s book is left open-ended. Its closing verses confront the readers with one important question that remains not answered by the author: Did the miraculous change of hearts in Nineveh eventually result in a radical change of Jonah’s heart?

There is a lot in the story of Jonah that is hard to understand, particularly about Jonah himself. Perhaps, though, the clearest lesson is that God’s grace and forgiveness extend way beyond ours. How can we learn to be more graceful and forgiving to those who do not deserve it, as we see God doing here with Jonah and with the Ninevites?



Thursday: Forgiven, Yet Unforgiving — 16 Comments

  1. My brother was found killed but I feel it will be hard to forgive those who did it and I call myself Christian, please pray for me because my desire is to do the will of God. I was even angry at my creator. I need forgiveness in my heart and mind.

    • Dear Mamosa,

      You are facing a more difficult trial than most of us will ever be called to face. I pray that God and His Spirit will draw very close to you and give you the peace that passes understanding.

      It is at times like this when the world expects you to have vengeful thoughts that the power of Christ in your life can be most clearly manifest.

      At times like this it is normal to be even angry at God. He understands. What is important is your desire to do His will and your desire to want to forgive. You are going through some of the natural stages of grief -- one of which is anger. Allow yourself to be angry and tell God just how you feel, and then throw yourself on His mercy in surrender. As you surrender your anger and your grief to Him, He will be able to make a change in your heart.

      It might help to read some of the psalms of David. He went through every emotion imaginable, and he remonstrated with God. I believe that his honesty with God was one of the characteristics that made him "a man after God's heart."

      May you, too, be "a man after God's heart."

      My prayers are with you.

    • My dear Mamosa, I feel your pain. I had a sister who was stabbed to death by a supposed friend of mine. I was angry and wanted revenge. Then I met Christ , and it took some time before the feeling went away. I am now after many years able to say I am over and can pray for the killer. He is someone for whom Christ died for too. So trust God and remember we have all committed the greatest sin, we caused the death of God's Son. Take care my friend and forgive.

    • [Moderator Note: Please use full name when commenting]

      I understand what you are going thru, I myself went thru the same thing!!! My youngest brother was murdered also some years ago. I felt like he was more to me than just a brother, because my mother died at a early age and I am the oldest of 6 kids, I raised him into adulthood. He met and and married his wife and became a responsible father. Only to be shot down on the street of California. The coroner's office called me to notif y me of his death. It brought me to my knees!!! I Know the hurt you are going through, the guy that killed him smiled at his wife in court!!! I chose not to attend the trial because I did not want to hate his murderer. In time God will heal your broken heart. Be blessed.

    • I keep you in my prayers; remember that vengeance is mine sayeth the lord. Do not ignore your emotions because thats apart of being human, accept them and pray for the strength and the wisdom to trust in GOD's unfailing plan for us all.

    • ” be angry, and do not sin.” Ephesians 4:26
      Righteous anger hates the breaking of God’s commands. My anger can propel me toward following righteousness, or feed my sinfulness towards a downward spiral of hate. We all have the same tendencies of evil inside us. Here is an old story to illustrate:
      An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

      “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

      The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

      The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

  2. I think it is ok to be angry when somebody killed your brother. Only have a balans of hoping that God will do all justice not us.

  3. When we surrender to GOD all our infirmities disappear and leave us a heart that is ready to receive seeds of forgiveness and love for our enemies.

  4. God does pay for all the evil done on this planet, and those who do not turn to Him will ultimately have to bear the result of the things they have done. We can take comfort that God does take care of these things. He is much better at judgment than I am. He is all wise and all loving. Jesus said to pray for your enemies and do them good, and I can choose to do that and leave them with God. The more I think about and remember what He does for me every day, what He has suffered for me and the grace He extends through Jesus, God works His miracle in my mind and heart. He gives me the grace and forgiveness for others that I do not have by myself.

  5. [Moderator Note: Please use first and last name when commenting]

    Anger is one of the things that God dislikes so dish it to the Lord and He will sweep it all away.

  6. [Moderator Note: Please use first and last name when commenting]

    Thanks because now I know it is important to forgive, as Christ forgave my sin, whereas He was sinless.

  7. We are not more good than God. If God is "slow in anger" He does get angry, but doesn't rush in.
    Jesus was also a few times recorded angry but still died on cross.
    All feelings are good if controlled by the Spirit God.

  8. I have struggled to pick points on Thursday, but one thing I got is forgiveness should be earnest, full and reserve.Do to others as you want them to do to you.

  9. Dear Mamosa,
    I know its sad and hard time for you, but remember one thing Jesus came and died for us all.Your brother would have loved you to have a wonderful life, life full of peace,love and not full of vengeance.I love when you say "am a christian" that means its all under control and no matter what you do you know your angry but do not forget that Our Almighty knows and He has good plans for you. Ill always put you in my prayers and take care my friend. God be with you.


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