January 18

Jonah 3:1-5, 10

“When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.” vs. 10

Jonah was having a tough time with God. He believed that he had been commissioned to announce to the people of Nineveh that their city was about to be destroyed. He hadn’t wanted to deliver the message–after all, who would want to be known as a prophet of doom! But the Lord hadn’t let him off the hook and he showed up in Nineveh, albeit reluctantly, and proclaimed that destruction was on the way. But then, according to the story, the people repented–and so did God! And Jonah was confused–it hadn’t occurred to him that God had a warm, fuzzy side. And there are still a lot of folks who don’t get that. They have an image of God as judging and condemning, and when they’re shown from scripture that God is compassionate and forgiving, they have a hard time with it. They don’t get that God loves the people they hate. They don’t even get that God loves them, in spite of their checkered past, and their negative self image. It just might be that vast multitudes of people in this world need to change their minds about God, and learn to embrace the God of love and mercy!

Thought for the Day: Why is it hard for some to believe that God loves them?

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