“The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.”
Jonah 1:1-3 NASB
We all suffer the hardness of heart. All of us have experienced some hurt, some wrong that seems to be unforgivable. We go through life hoping that God will bring us the justice we feel we are due. On one level we desire repentance, a moment in time when those who have wronged us, repent of their sins and turn away for the attitudes and actions that led to your hurt. Sometimes we desire destruction of the enemy, no change, just complete obliteration.
I am one who has amassed a lot of damage. I am one who was the representative for the outpouring of the ills of many who held bias. I spent much of my life as “first and an only”. The first black person to do this, or the only black person to do that. In a world where most of the people I encounter on a daily basis are white, that distinction is very common for me. I have always moved into the greater world, outside of the shelter of my neighborhood.
So often I was the only black man that many came in contact with, as we live in a world of segregated hearts and minds. I got to have all the conversations that many whites wanted to have. I was asked all the questions as if I was the authority for all things black. I was also the recipient of the stereotype, the rage, and the hate. Through it all, I endured.
I can imagine what Jonah felt. The Assyrians had brutalized the children of Israel. They raped and pillaged them, and tortured. It was not uncommon for them to cut off heads and mount them on pikes as a warning to others. Jonah knew of all of this and had most likely lost loved ones to their brutality.
When the Lord called him, he knew what he was to do. He also knew the power of God’s grace. The last thing he wanted was the repentance of the enemy. He wanted them to be destroyed.
I have found myself in that same reality, desiring that God destroy those who have wronged me. We are in a place where our culture is facing a shift. Wrongs have been done and the forces of good and evil are at work. Repentance is what is needed, a change of heart where people are rent, ashamed of the bias that has so ensnared them. Others are resisting the conviction, and seeking victimhood.
Adversaries are not seeking repentance, but destruction of the enemy. They seek the abolishment of power structures that have been used to bring harm and control, even though doing so would bring more harm from within. Many of those are not interested in repentance.
Jonah was disappointed when the inevitable grace of God brought the people of Nineveh to repentance. Jonah sat on a hill overlooking the city, hoping that there would be a regression, a backslide, that would bring about the destruction he hope for. In his sitting the Lord fashioned a plant for him. It grew and gave him shade. God then sent a worm to kill the plant. Jonah became upset. God used this to bring the truth of who He is to the heart of Jonah.
“Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?””
Jonah 4:11 NASB
So many people practice sin because they do not know any better. I have learned that sinners sin. We are all sinners. It is not until we are touched by the grace of God that we can change. Like Jonah, we lack the compassion of God, we do not know the hearts and minds of others. We do not know what God is doing in their lives or what He will do. This reality that we are facing now in regard racial bigotry is a sin issue. The answer is to bring the message of the Gospel.
Believers, you are ones to bring that message. If you are black, you are to be taking white people to the throne of grace, through prayer, asking God to bring the salvation and transformation to the hearts of those trapped by the sin of racism. You are also asking God to search your own heart, to root out the Jonah in you. Once that is done ask God to send you on mission, to bring the message of the love of Jesus to those you have thought of as the enemy. Yours might be the voice that reaches the most vile, hateful heart by the power of God.
If you are white, ask the Lord to search you. Is there a bit of Nineveh in you? Ask the Lord to break your heart. To make you new. Begin to love people with the love of Jesus. He is the maker of black and the white, the red and yellow and the brown and all the colors in between. He is the peacemaker and the peacekeeper.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”
Psalms 139:23-24 NASB
God desires His children live in peace.
I am one transformed. Many of the people I pray for, day in and day out, are those that I desired God to destroy. I remember years ago, I had a moment where I spoke to someone who had wronged me in the most grave way possible. The wound was forever raw and affecting my life in so many ways. When I received the call, I could hear something different in the persons voice. The message of the great Gospel of Jesus Christ had been heard, and that person had been saved. Suddenly my enemy became my friend, my fellow believer. I cast my desire for destruction under the blood of Jesus.
I have the benefit that Jonah did not have: I have God the Holy Spirit in me who governs me and controls me and is making my heart like His.
Pray the Lord help you to see and to love. Everything is riding on it.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!