Are you right? (Jonah 4:4)

Here’s the scene, Jonah (a prophet) was called by God to go to Nineveh and prophesy that in 40 days Nineveh would be overthrown. Jonah doesn’t want to go because he thinks God will relent and not do it to them. So instead of obeying, Jonah flees, but God gets his attention (the big fish) and finally Jonah obeys and goes to Nineveh.

He prophesies. The people repent. God relents. Jonah is mad! So mad he tells God just to kill him — basically throwing a temper-tantrum. Then God asks Jonah a question:

Is it right for you to be angry about this?” (Jonah 4:4 NLT 97)

First thought I have when I read this is what an amazing father God is. He doesn’t TELL Jonah, “hey bub, quit your whining you have no right to be upset!” Which He had every right to do. Instead He wants Jonah to see it for himself. Second thought I have is if God ever asks you a question like this, quickly figure out you’re in the wrong, repent, and get right with God! Third thing I notice is Jonah doesn’t even answer! Instead, he goes and throws himself a pity party.

Let’s ponder for a moment WHY Jonah is upset. People he didn’t like didn’t get wiped out? Yep. He looks like a false prophet because what he said didn’t happen? Yep. In short, he didn’t get HIS way.

Brief side note. Recently I watched a BBC flick (which I’m NOT recommending) called “He Knew He Was Right”. In essence the story that unfolds is that a man (happily married) becomes insanely jealous of his completely innocent wife. Over 4 hours you watch his insistence that he’s right (which, by the way, he was not) literally destroy his marriage and kill him. It was a sad tale, but demonstrated an interesting principle — sometimes when we “know” we’re right, we’re not.

Back to Jonah. He very likely felt “right” in his anger (as demonstrated a few verses later). But, that doesn’t make him right.

Are there areas where you feel justified in a negative response? Almost across the board the word negates the possibility that a negative response is truly justified. We’re to turn the other cheek, do all things without complaining and arguing, hope all things, keep no record of wrongs, etc, etc. And yet too often we make excuses for ourselves.  Trying to justify our behavior.

I’ll tattle on myself here a little. 🙂 Recently, I had several incidents where I became frustrated by someone (actually a couple someones). I never responded inappropriately to the individuals, but vented a bit to my hubby about the grievances that caused my frustration.

Even in the moment, I felt God checking me — encouraging me that as great as it was to respond appropriately to the other person, my heart response was equally important. I’ll be honest, like Jonah, I didn’t want to hear it. After all I wasn’t doing anything “wrong” to the other person. What did it matter if I vented a little to my husband?

Then yesterday, God had someone send me Ephesians 6:5. The person sending it wasn’t really sure what God was trying to say to me, she just knew it’s what He’d said. She also commented on verses 6-7. Here’s 5-7 from the Message:

Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. Don’t just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ’s servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you’re really serving God.

As of tomorrow, I’ve officially been unemployed for 2 years. At the moment Christ IS my master in every sense. So I knew He was referring to Himself here. But I knew He was reminding that it didn’t matter if the other person ever saw my frustration, HE saw it. And it showed an ugliness of heart that He wanted me to work on… not justify.

Like Jonah, even when cornered with the truth I struggled against it a bit, but ultimately I had to realize that I KNEW what He was saying to me and had to address it.

Let me challenge you, what areas are you feeling “right” or justified that God’s been trying to get your attention on? Is it perhaps time to suck it up and address those shortcomings?

Lord, I ask that You give us eyes to see areas You are trying to correct us in but we’re turning away because we feel right/justified. Lord help us to not just see these areas, but to take action to correct them. Thank You that we can rejoice when You chasten us because it’s a reminder we are Your children and You love us. Thank You for Your patience and mercy. Help us be more like You!

One thought on “Are you right? (Jonah 4:4)

  1. This entire post seems like my life the last 5 months. Me not being Jonah but a person I will call the “other person” during this response. The movie is one I actually might want to see…for many reasons. During this trial I continued to remember these words, “Go to the thrown before the phone.” I must admit, I wasn’t hearing straight from God or maybe I was confused as to what I was hearing. I did depend on you and two other Godly women that would never judge the “other person.” The other two were sent to me by the “other person.” I did hear not to air this story for all to see and hear because I was protecting the “other person.” I have to say, I did just that. I protected the person so much that my family are completely mad at me for not telling them anything that happened or is happening. I just never got the green light from God. I do believe my character was tested, and I do feel like I did well. Maybe not great or amazing, but well. I am sure that I will be corrected differently in the future, but don’t you just love the baby steps! I believe that God gives us close knit people that we can depend on for love, correction, and venting. Not every person can be this for another. However, I know that sometimes we must vent so that it isn’t bottled up and the feelings boil over into a huge mess. I know that your husband was probably a great choice to depend on to listen, not judge, and still love you after your emotions slipped out of your mouth. I think this situation is a heart thing…was your intent to change anothers opinion or to bash a person or to gain understanding from another. 1Peter 3:9 “Do not repay evil with evil or insult to insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

    God has shown me a lot recentely based on abuse in relationships. He has used others to share this with me too, people whom I have never shared any aspect of my life with. Last night tears formed in my eyes because I was able to see what could have been. I believe that the Lord has been showing me this for weeks now, but I was a bit blinded to see it…and I am not completely surprised that this was given to me the same day of the anniversary of the Coleman tragedy. Did Sherry cry out for help? Did she hear of sound mind God’s word that would protect her? If I had not seeked some type of guidance or vent a bit, I don’t know if I would be standing strong in my decision today. It took God and His army of people to get me to where I am today.

    I personally was blessed to have you to gain understanding from during my situation. I know and love your heart, so I knew that I could trust in you. I do beieve that is one reason why God placed you in my life when he did. Instantly it seemed like I was drawn to you. The bible mentions about seeking God before worldly men, I just can’t remember the scripture. I believe this and I know that ONLY God is in control. I think the punishment comes, at least for me, when it comes through intent. I know without a doubt Meghan that you heart is to love. You helped me because I believe this is one of your God given talents. “The end of all things is near. Therefore, be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers all multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:7-10 The scripture continues to speak about speaking and serving others with God in mind so that in all things God can be praised. I believe you used your gift and talents to serve God.

    I guess this all depends on how one is looking at the situation or walking in the situation. There was a reason why God had me fasting for my tongue, during this trial in my personal life. He wanted me to serve like He does, even if the stuff I was saying was the truth to the other person. I couldn’t have said those things to the other person because only God could and can! However, I know without a doubt that God gave me 3 Godly women to help me get through this situation…you being one of them! I love you for being this strong, Godly woman for me. I love God for bringing these people in my life. And I love how much He loves me and you.

    I hope this makes doesn’t just sound like rambling and you see my heart. Meghan God gave us emotions for a reason. I love you beautiful friend.

    Kacie

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