Text: Jonah 1:1-3; 3:1-5, 10; 4:1-3
Memory verse:
“Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’
‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭33‬:‭11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

September 6, 2018 was a black day for the family of Botham Jean and the American blacks when an off-duty police officer, Amber Guyger, went into the apartment of Jean and shot the innocent dead. Guyger claimed she had entered Jean’s apartment believing it was her own and believed Jean to be a burglar! The trial, which was widely watched didn’t just end with the judge sentencing Guyger to ten years imprisonment. Rather, while in court, his brother, Brandt Jean, who was also the main complainant, shocked the world, when he told the court that despite what Guyger took from his family, if she is truly sorry for what she did, then he forgives her and wants the best for her. Brandt Jean asked the judge, “I don’t know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug, please?” He said this after telling Guyger that his main desire wasn’t for her to go to jail but to “give your life to Christ.” As he stepped forward to give him a tight hug, the courtroom was largely quiet except for the sounds of sobbing. What an emotion-laden moment! Brandt Jean’s extraordinary response to a convicted murderer was a demonstration of God’s mercy and compassion towards sinners.
Our God doesn’t delight in the death of sinners but that they may repent and turn from their evil (Ezek 33:11; 2 Pet 3:9).
According to our text, Jonah demonstrated a contrary attitude towards the people of Nineveh! Why will a preacher be angry that sinners will repent if he preaches? This is really odd! His hatred for the people of Nineveh was so much that he preferred that they be destroyed than for God to save them! Even after his fish-stomach experience, his subsequent obedience to Nineveh’s call, the repentance of the people from their wickedness, and God’s forgiveness, Jonah’s anger resumed again. His hatred was so serious that he even preferred to die than for the people to repent.
Do you know that some believers also think likewise? They feel so hurt and wounded that they don’t ever wish or pray that their offenders or perceived enemies ever repent so that they may perish. Yes, we may be hurt, but don’t ever close your bowel of mercy. Remember that, despite the cruelty of the cross, Jesus still prayed for His enemies! (Luke 23: 34).
Friends, as a child of God, never esteem your hurts above the cause of the gospel. You should delight in what God delights in and hate what God hates. God hates sin but delights in repentance. Desire the salvation of your enemies and don’t keep the good news from them.

Prayer points
1. Father, please forgive me in any way that I have raised my hurts above the cause of the gospel, in Jesus’ name.
2. Father, help me to love what You love and to hate what You hate, in Jesus’ name.

Today’s declarations
1. I will love my enemies by praying for their salvation and seeking every opportunity to share the good news with them.
2. Yes, my enemies have hurt me, but God forbid that I raise my hurts above the cause of the gospel.

Contact: pastor@thf.org.ng