Jonah 4:1-11, Acts 11:15-18, Romans 5:6-11
When a parent asks their child, “Do you think you did the right thing here?” the answer is almost always a whopping “no.” Do you think it was right to push your little brother off the bed? Do you think it was okay to sneak into the kitchen in the middle of the night and eat all the Pringles? Is it right to hit your friend?
No, no, no.
And when God asks Jonah if it’s right for him to be angry, we know the correct answer.
Jonah is ticked at God’s grace. He can’t believe that God would be so gracious and kind to the city of Nineveh. As Jonah stews in his anger, God asks him if his anger is justified.
No answer. Not yet.
After witnessing a revival in Nineveh, Jonah heads back home. While resting, God provides shade for Jonah and puts him at ease. Everything is going Jonah’s way. Finally. But then, the Lord sends a worm to destroy the plant, toppling Jonah’s temporary comfort and happiness. Things aren’t going Jonah’s way anymore.
Jonah rants and raves against the plant, and God asks Jonah if he’s right to be angry. Jonah thinks so. But God reminds Jonah of his place in the universe. The prophet had nothing to do with the plant. He didn’t plant it or grow it. It doesn’t truly belong to him. Jonah only cared about the plant because of what it gave him. His anger came when his comfort was removed and his selfishness exposed.
Jonah only cared about Jonah. God cared about the city of Nineveh, filled with people made in His image. Jonah was angry because Jonah was the most important thing to Jonah. And if I’m honest, most of my anger is about one person: Me, Me, Me.
Is your anger me-filled? You will live in a state of anger if you only care about you. Jonah cared more about his shade than he did the revival that broke out in Nineveh. Do you care more about the kingdom of God than the barista getting your coffee order right? Do you get more upset by the traffic in your city or the fact that thousands in your city don’t know the risen Christ? Is your anger right?
Our emotions reveal our greatest passions. May the crucified and risen Christ, His kingdom and His name, be our greatest passion.
Written by J. A. Medders