Are you angry with anyone? Holding a grudge?
Wow! That’s so human of you. One thing I can say for sure, It’s definitely not divine. That’s the great thing about God. He’s not in the grudge business. He gives second chances. As a matter of fact, He gives third and fourth chances, too! One of my favorite Bible stories is Jonah. If you don’t know it and don’t have a Bible handy for a quick read, let me share the short version.
-God called Jonah to preach repentance to Nineveh, a wicked city.
-Jonah didn’t want to go, and ran away (by ship).
-God sent a storm.
-Jonah got thrown overboard and swallowed by a big fish.
-The fish spit him out.
-He preached at Nineveh.
-They repented of their sin.
-Jonah got mad that God didn’t destroy Nineveh.
-He sat outside the city, and waited for God to change His mind and do the “right” thing (which meant bringing destruction on the city).
Let’s stop right there for a second, because these few lines contain our BIG lesson!
God Gives Second Chances
He gave Jonah a second chance. When Jonah ran away, the storm and fish were God’s call back. What? Being thrown overboard during a storm and swallowed by a fish is a second chance??? Sure! Have you ever considered God disciplines you for your own good; a chance to turn back and repent? God disciplines those He loves. He’s saying, “No, that’s wrong. Turn back to me.”
Also, God gave Nineveh a second chance. He sent Jonah to preach repentance and the people listened.
You know what? God even gave Jonah a third chance. When the silly prophet sat outside the city, waiting for destruction to come, God caused a vine to grow over him, to offer him shade. Jonah liked this. Then God sent a bug to eat the vine, and Jonah was left in the sun, angry.
Here’s what the Bible says happened next.
Jonah 4:9-11. Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!” But the Lord said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. 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?”
Boy, Jonah was a whiner! Yet God tried to explain why He gives second and third and fourth chances. To paraphrase what God said- “I created these people. I love them. These people are lost. Shouldn’t I have pity on them and call them back?”
The Christian’s God does not change. He still offers second chances. Your sin (wrong doing) causes a rift between you and Him. God is always calling you back. He is always willing to forgive.
So, how about it? Is there some sin separating you from God? He is a God of second chances, a God of forgiveness! Turn to Him.
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”