When Jonah saw how the Lord spared the Ninevites from His judgment, he became very angry. Jonah prayed to the Lord, "Isn't this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live." Although Jonah returned to God, he still harbored hatred towards the Ninevites. Jonah knew that God would spare the Ninevites from His judgment if they repented, so he tried to escape from going to Nineveh. But the Lord replied, "Is it right for you to be angry?" God asked Jonah to reveal the condition of his heart. Jonah already knew the answer to the question. The answer was no. He had no right to be angry because God had forgiven their sins. (Jonah 4:1-4).
One of the reasons it is difficult for us to forgive is that we want to get even with those who hurt us. We want them to feel the same hurt that they have caused us. However, God wants us to forgive those who offended us like He forgives us. Although Jonah received God's forgiveness, he didn't want to let go of the offenses that the Ninevites had caused his people. In order for us to be a light to this world, we need to let go of our resentments and hatred toward those who offended us. We have to exemplify the character of God in us. Our God is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love.
As believers, we need to grow in forgiveness. We may have difficulty forgiving someone, but we can ask God to give us the strength and courage to forgive. Forgiveness is not a suggestion but a command that God has given us. We can forgive through God's strength. Paul said this in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Ask yourself these questions for application: (Think through these questions carefully and meditate on them while answering them, and let the Spirit of God speaks to you). Am I willing to grow in forgiveness? Why is it important to forgive others? What can I learn from God's character?
Write down all the worries you face today and lift them up to God.
Father in Heaven, I acknowledge that you are gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love. Please change my heart so I may live according to your holy character. Please help me to forgive and surrender to you all the offenses that people offended me. Thank you for being so gracious to me. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.