Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Jonah in Me

Went to worship service today and we learned about Jonah.  The book of Jonah is in the Old Testament.  It talks about Jonah’s inner struggle with doing what God requests of him.  It was a pretty amazing story, actually.  God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and Jonah went the complete opposite direction because he did not want to go.

Well, God threw a storm at him, then created a huge fish (probably a whale or something) to swallow Jonah.  And it did.  Jonah spent three days and nights in the belly of the whale before his prayers for forgiveness and promise to fulfill God’s request were answered.

When God let him out of the fish, Jonah went immediately to Nineveh and did what God told him to do.  But he was still very angry about doing it. 

You see, the Ninevites were very barbaric and merciless when they killed their enemies.  They were vicious, vicious people.  Their enemies died slow and torturous deaths.  And God sent Jonah to this city to preach the Word to them so their hearts could change and they could be saved.

Can you imagine being Jonah, told to go and preach the Word to murderers so that they could get to heaven?  It is such an honorable thing to be requested by our wonderful Father to save people.  But murderers?   People who tortured other people? 

While I was in the service, listening to the Word, I realized that my faith has always had a little hole in it.  Before I became saved, I had this ugly hardness in my heart about men who raped and molested children.  I remember learning about a man who was going to be executed after facing about 14 years in prison for participating in a gang rape and murder of two little girls of about 15 years old. 

The men were young at the time, probably around 18 years old or so.  Well, these two girls were walking home from school.  They took a shortcut.  They were attacked by a gang of guys.  They tried to get away, and one of them did escape.  But she ran back to try to help her friend.  The men beat and raped them both repeatedly.  When they were done, they took them into the woods where they strangled them with their shoe laces.  One pulled one end of the string and another guy pulled the other end.  The string actually broke and they then used belts to strangle them.

This story, as well as others, has always brought so much anger and pain to me.  It reminds me of my ex and the things he used to do to me.  I can imagine what these girls went through.  The fear, the pain.  Such cruelty.  It makes me sick.  It was stories like this and my own past experiences that kept me from coming to God in the beginning.

Like Jonah, I’m so quick to judge those who are so evil in their hearts.  I’m so quick to say they shouldn’t get the opportunity to get to heaven.  Why the hell should they after the horrific things they’ve done to people?

God is a compassionate god.  And I know He wants all his people to come to Him.  I know it’s not my right to judge others.  But it’s so hard for me to accept that with God, ALL things are possible—even the salvation of rapists.

So tonight was a reminder that I still have issues I need to pray about.  I still have a wall between God and me and I need to really work on taking it down. 

I told myself tonight that I need to pray about it.  To be honest, a part of me didn’t even want to.  A part of me WANTED to be hard and unmoved.  How do you take something like that, something like hate, out of your heart?  Maybe someone could pray for me so that I could have the will to pray for myself.


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