17 Feb Turn Around (Jonah 3:10) by Pastor Don Bird
“When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.” ~ Jonah 3:10 (full readings)
Pastor Don’s Reflections: We are struck with the miraculous change of heart that the violent Ninevites experienced. If we are not careful, however, Jonah’s repentance can easily hide in the shadows of Nineveh. He tried to run away from God’s call to invite the Ninevites to turn back to God and change their ways. He would rather see them destroyed due to the fact they were enemies of Israel and it would have satisfied his own sense of justice. What intrigues me about the story is that Nineveh repents and turns from their destructive ways before Jonah has his change of heart. Jonah knew that God was merciful and gracious, but he didn’t want that grace extended to the Ninevites, those evil Gentiles beyond redemption. Jonah seems to be the more difficult one to turn around. He was willing to preach judgment and the destruction of this evil nation…but grace? It is grace and mercy that leads to true repentance, not the fear of judgment. In His goodness, God warned the Ninevites, giving them a chance to repent. We can be easily tempted to cast judgment and preach the destruction of evil and sit back and watch God deliver the justice we feel is deserved. What if we spend our lives creating space that allows people to turn back to God and to experience the light of grace and mercy as it disperses the darkness of evil? This is the work that moves hearts towards God and makes a difference for Christ in the world.
* Pastor Don Bird is the Lead Pastor at Hope United Methodist Church in Greenwood Village, CO. He lives in Aurora, CO with his wife of 19 years, Mandy, and their two children, Ethan and Haleigh..
Faith Challenge: Reach out to those living in darkness and offer a word of grace and encouragement, helping them live into God’s mercy and light.
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Faith Quote: “The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy, and He responds to repentance.” ~ Billy Graham
All In Christ for Pro-Life,
Pastor Don Bird
1 Jn 3:18