They deserve what they get! Have you ever heard that kind of response about someone who finally receives the hard consequences of their bad behavior?
Then, how do you feel when someone tells this “bad” person about Jesus and they turn from their evil attitude and behavior and begin living for the Lord? Do you secretly think that’s not fair and become angry because they are going to receive the same reward that you will?
That’s the attitude Jonah had when the city of Nineveh did what God wanted them to do. Jonah was one of the most successful preachers ever. He preached to a large city and the entire city turned to the Lord. They repented of their sinfulness; fervently fasting and praying to God. What was the response from heaven? “When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it” (Jonah 3:10).
What was Jonah’s attitude about this? “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry” (Jonah 4:1). The words that follow that statement reveal the depth of his anger. All of this reveals that Jonah had not developed an attitude and kindness of heart like God’s. His heart was full of anger because of his arrogance and selfishness.
While Jesus lived upon the earth we hear the Pharisees express an attitude similar to Jonah’s. “And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ But when he heard it, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick’” (Matthew 9:10-12).
In their mind, the Lord of heaven and earth would not show such love to those that were living sinful lives. But the Lord’s love does reach out in a special way to those who are in greatest need. As Jesus put it, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.”
It’s a grievous thing for our selfishness to reach the point that we begrudge good things from God for those who repent of evil and live for Him. As followers of Jesus, we should rejoice to help guide those who need a second chance, who need the “Spiritual Doctor”, to hear and know our loving Savior. Those who in our view is the most worthless are the very ones who need the Lord Jesus most.
Let’s desire God’s help as we reach out to all who are in spiritual need as fully as we reach out to those in physical need.
Prayer: Dear God of heaven and earth, as I venture out into Your glorious world today, help me to see in all I meet the same value and worth that You see in them (and me) regardless of how different their lives or lifestyles may be from mine. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen