What makes you get angry? Has getting angry ever helped you?
Have you ever heard the story of Jonah? Jonah was a prophet that was told by God to go to the wicked and mean city of Nineveh. God loved the people of Nineveh, and he wanted them to repent. But Jonah hated Nineveh and ran the other way. Far away from God. But you can’t really run away from God can you?
Do you remember what happened to Jonah? He was thrown off the ship during a storm and swallowed by a giant fish. Gross! After three long days, the fish spit Jonah out and he finally went to Nineveh. He preached to the people, and they repented and turned to God for his love and forgiveness. Yay! But Jonah was very angry. Listen to how the book of Jonah describes his anger:
Jonah 4:1-4. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. 2 And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord…That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. 4 And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?”
Jonah was angry at God for loving someone that Jonah hated. He was mad at God for being gracious and merciful. So God decided to teach Jonah another lesson. But this time instead of a great big fish, God would use a little plant. God allowed a plant to quickly grow up around Jonah but then God suddenly let the plant die. God asked Jonah if he was angry that the plant died. Jonah said, “YES! I AM ANGRY! I am angry that the plant died.”
God was teaching Jonah (and us) an important lesson. If a dying plant makes us sad and angry shouldn’t people not knowing about God’s love through Jesus make us even more sad and angry? God doesn’t want anyone to die without knowing about Jesus and his salvation through the cross. The question is will we love people like God does and tell them about Jesus? Or will we be angry at God for loving everyone, even the people we don’t like?
Because of Jesus God will never be angry at us, just our sin.
With Jesus we can forgive others instead of being angry at them.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Ask your kids if they are angry at anyone. Help them learn to distinguish between being angry at sin while still forgiving and caring for the person.
Jesus, help me to not be angry at God or others, and only angry at sin. Amen.