Why are you angry? It’s not just Jonah.

Good morning.

I hope you had a good weekend.

I have been organizing everywhere.’

I did something very unusual this year with my Christmas decorations. I stored them as usual in large plastic tubs but instead of storing them in the basement, I’ve stored them in our shed. This may big a huge mistake.

I’ll find out next year.

Then I took my fabric out of the bins they were stored in and stacked them on a shelving unit. If I don’t see them I’ll forget how much I have and keep buying more. In this case, “out of sight, out of mind”, doesn’t work for me..

It also doesn’t work in my spiritual life.

I find that when I ignore things, I find anger building up because I didn’t deal with them as I should. I think Jonah did, too.

(Yes, this is a long about way to get to Jonah. Stay with me here.)

In case you don’t know the whole story:

Jonah was sent by God to Ninevah to tell the Ninevites about God so they would repent.

He didn’t want to go.

First of all, he thought the Ninevites weren’t worthy. Second, he figured it would be a wasted trip because God would save them anyway. That’s what he said later in a discussion with God, but frankly, I don’t think that was it at all. I think he just didn’t want to go otherwise wouldn’t he have said that at the beginning?

Just saying.

But he grudgingly went. Because of his attitude, he ended up getting swallowed by a big fish (more accurate definition than a whale.) Eventually, he gets vomited up and decides maybe he should have had a better attitude.

He goes to Ninevah, preaches about God, and lo and behold, the Ninevites repent. Jonah is furious. and basically asks God, “If you knew Ninevah was going to repent, why did you send me there in the first place?” Of course, he makes sure he praises God first in the hopes that will soften his anger. As if God didn’t see right through all that.

Remember, Jonah was a prophet. It was his job to preach. And, yet, for some reason he didn’t want to see the Ninevites repent. After they do, he takes his wounded pride (he thought he knew better than God) and sits under a gourd vine. It was hot and the vine provided shade from the heat.

The next day the vine withers and he’s angry at the vine. God asks him, “Do you have a right to be angry about the plant?”

“Yes,” Jonah says petulantly.

God responds, ” So, Jonah, let me get this straight, you are mad about the vine but the lost people of Ninevah you couldn’t get angry about? You would have been ready to let them unrepentantly perish?” (paraphrase)

In other words, God was saying, “Really, Job? Really?

The book of Jonah ends with God telling Jonah that he loved the Ninevites and was not willing to let them perish. Sounds a bit like Johh 3:16, doesn’t it?

The good thing that can be said about Jonah is that at least he expressed his anger to God.

And we should.

We should be totally honest with God. He knows what we’re thinking anyway. BUT

there is a difference between being honest about our anger and simply having a “spiritual” temper tantrum.

There is so much more to write about Jonah and this was certainly a quick recounting. The Jewish people don’t necessarily believe the story of Jonah was historical. Whether you do or not, the lesson is still the same.

Save your anger for the things that really matter. Save your anger for suffering people everywhere. Save your anger for important causes, like the environment, injustice, etc. Let your anger work for YOU to help OTHERS.

Jonah’s anger didn’t come from a grieving heart. It didn’t come because his life was full of struggles. (After all, he brought the whole getting-swallowed-by-a-fish episode on himself. )

I don’t know what was the real cause of Jonah’s anger but I have a hunch, that because he was just a human being with the same emotions we all have, he let things build up.

God has used him in the past or he wouldn’t have given him this assignment. But somewhere along the way, Jonah started feeling sorry for himself for reasons we don’t know.

Jonah’s anger was because he wanted his own way. Maybe he felt like he’d done more than the next prophet but wasn’t getting the same accolades. Maybe he felt God was sending him out too often. Maybe, he was comfortable where he was and wanted no challenges.

Who really knows?

Don’t be afraid to express your anger to God. That’s not what this post is about. There are a number of examples throughout scripture of those who did just that with no bad consequences.

But make sure it’s not a spiritual temper tantrum.

Jonah wasn’t and isn’t the only one guilty of that. We should learn from his bad example.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

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