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A Lesson From a Culture Gone Wrong

But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish. (Jonah 1:3)

A city full of people stood in peril of perishing by God’s judgment against them because God’s servant wanted to go in a different direction.

Things haven’t changed much!

The Commission Jesus gives us is, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you …” Matthew 28:19-20a. Talk about a powerful way to impact culture! But is this Commission our focus? Or are we often going in a different direction?

A Judgmental Heart

When Jonah finally got his act together and delivered God’s message to the people of Ninevah, they repented! In Jonah 3:10, we read this statement revealing the grace of God:

When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.

What an awesome picture of God’s love! Surely, as children of God, our great desire would be to see the lost repent and know the grace and love of God, right?

It’s wasn’t Jonah’s desire:

This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.” (Jonah 4:1-3)

Jonah didn’t see the people of Nineveh the way God did. He certainly didn’t love them as God did. Instead, his heart was judgmental toward them. Even though the people repented and “… put a stop to their evil ways …” Jonah was angry that God changed His plans of destroying the city!

Things haven’t changed much!

We don’t love the people in our time the way God loves them. If we did, we would align our will to His and place a premium on reaching people rather than being distracted with culture.

This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.