by: Judy Ledene
“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry” (4:1). As the anti-prophet, Jonah’s reaction to God’s compassion for the Ninevites is shocking in its honesty and also familiar. Like many self-righteous people, Jonah did not believe the well-known wicked, violent city deserved God’s mercy, and he had no interest in calling them to repent. Yet God sent Jonah there so that he – and all God’s people – could face his hypocrisy and understand the divine compassion that exceeds human understanding (4:11).
“For I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful” (4:2). No one ‘deserves’ God’s mercy, whatever our background or label. Yet when we lay down our claim to righteousness, we humbly receive the gift of grace.