Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Forgiveness - a Christian virtue
“And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left- and much livestock?”(V.11)
Prophet Jonah was a man like us, with flaws like us. He was a proud Jew, rebellious, stubborn, disobedient, unforgiving, retaliating, angry and selfish. He believed that God belonged to the Jews only. Jonah reluctantly preached in Nineveh and the greatest evangelization took place. Jonah was displeased as he did not want the people of Nineveh to repent and be saved. He wanted them to be punished and destroyed. He believed that those gentiles deserved death for their sins and for brutally torturing the Israelites during wars in the past. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked but wants them to turn from their evil ways and live righteously.
As a potter makes his pot out of clay breaking it, molding it, shaping it and designing it according to his desire, so does God put us on His wheel and whirls us. He breaks us and molds us with trials and afflictions. God used nature to teach Jonah a lesson. The scorching wind made Jonah uncomfortable and sick to the point that he preferred to die than suffer it. Jonah thought he was superior and did not realize that he too needed God’s mercy, grace, compassion and forgiveness just like the Ninevites.
The given passage teaches us that our God is in control of history, nature, all creatures, and all events in our life. It also sheds light on the abounding love, care and compassion God has for all His creatures regardless of race, color, nationality, religion or economic and social background. Our God is a compassionate God of many chances, gracious, merciful, faithful, slow to anger, abundant in loving-kindness, relenting in causing harm.
When someone does us wrong, we deposit the offense in our memory banks, nurse and rehearse these negative thoughts, allowing it to produce venom, resentfulness and bitterness in us. On the contrary, we must let go of it. Forgive them and press the delete button. Place it in Jesus’ hands. God cannot forgive us if we fail to forgive our fellow human beings.
God is concerned about the entire humanity, and wants all to be saved. He sent His Son to planet earth as an atoning sacrifice to redeem all mankind from their sins. His saving grace reaches all. All God expects from us is to have faith in Jesus, submit ourselves to Him and repent. He patiently delays His second coming that none may perish, that all may repent as well as accept Jesus and His finished work once and for all on the cross. There is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved.
Prayer: Lord, grant us a forgiving spirit. Empower us to embrace those that have hurt us and minister to them in their times of need. Amen.
Thought for the day: We are forgiven to forgive others.
Saramma Chacko, Epiphany MTC , New York.