Love your neighbor

Jonah 3:10
“God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways…”
Do you ever feel like God doesn’t see you and what you’ve been doing? Well He sees it and He has compassion for us Isaiah 30:18-22, he has new mercies for us every morning Lamentations 3:23, and instead of His wrath He pours out His love upon us Romans 8:38-39
We can either choose to rejoice in this knowledge, even if we don’t see the answers, even if we don’t have any change in our circumstances or situations – we can rejoice and we should rejoice in the fact that He is our Lord and He longs to be compassionate and has poured out his love!
Or we can choose to act as Jonah did…let’s look at Jonah 4:1-3
He flips out! Have you ever seen someone who deserves every kind of punishment for their treatment of you and every other human being and you just can’t wait to see the punishment take place?
Be honest with yourself, deep down you will say “They deserved it. They chose to live their life that way and they should be aware that there are consequences to their actions.”
While there is some truth in that – people need to be aware that EVERY action or decision they make has a consequences POSITIVE or NEGATIVE!
But when a calamity comes upon someone, we should NOT be clapping in the background. We should instead being that healing balm of Gilead and showing the compassion, the love of God – actively.
Remember, inaction is still disobedience and is just as bad as going the opposite direction.
This is loving your neighbor as yourself at its very core.
When you experience a calamity, you want someone to come over and comfort you…right? When you’re going through a difficult trial you want support from people, am I wrong?
Well then if you so desire it when you go through it, why on earth would you withhold that very same comfort from others, simply because they made a different sin choice from you?
No I’m not above this, I just experienced this kind of situation in two different ways over the past several weeks. One was easier to do as it is a choice that I have never had a struggle to make the Godly choice whereas the other one was something people had accused me of and I battled my flesh.
Both actions – the one I chose not to do and the one I chose to do are both sin. I am not embarrassed to say I still sin – I said I didn’t sin then I would be sinning by lying. We all sin and therefore we all need to treat others who are sinning like Jesus treats us, with love and compassion.
So what if and when we choose anger or vindication instead of love and compassion? We tend to get a little dramatic, unnecessarily so. Look at how Jonah reacted “Take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
He is saying that because God chose to be compassionate towards an entire nation that had changed their lives and hearts that he would be better off DEAD than to see these people saved.
That’s a little dramatic, even for me and I love the flare of a wide range of emotions.
“Gosh, God you saved them just like you saved me. I hate this choice, kill me now and undo the action you just did for my benefit!”
We have all done this and may still continue to do this – eek – but let us change our own hearts now before we are totally lost.
Let us hear AND respond to God’s question or reply v.4 “Is it right for you to be angry?”
Is it right for us to keep living in this way of life without giving out the compassion and love so freely given to us? Obviously the answer is no. God did not send His son so that just we could be saved but that all could be saved and experience the unending love and compassion of Jesus.

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