The story of Jonah and the Whale keeps popping into mind.  Jonah as we all know was told by the Lord to go to Nineveh because “their wickedness has come up before Me.”  Instead, Jonah goes in the opposite direction to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.  He ran from the Lord so he couldn’t “hear” what he was directed to do.  Of course, this gets Jonah in a lot of “hot water”; well, a lot of water anyway.  The story leads to Jonah’s three day and night stay in the belly of the whale or “great fish”.  Thus the Christ reference each book in the Bible has in it.  For the complete story read the Book of Jonah in the Bible, it is located in the prophets near the end of the Old Testament.  Jonah knew the Lord was a forgiving God: Jonah 3:(9)10 “When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them (Nineveh).  And He did not do it.”  When God didn’t destroy them, Jonah was displeased and angry:  4:26 “for I know that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.”  After demonstrating to Jonah through a plant shading him, He responds to Jonah’s reasoning: “Should I not have compassion on Ninevah, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference betweeen their right and left hand, as well as many animals?”

Has God ever told you to forgive someone or told you to pray for someone to repent their ways and you don’t want to do that?  After all that person has done some real sinning; and they deserve to be punished for their actions and words.  He keeps reminding you that we are all brothers and sisters.  His greatest commandment involves not only completely loving the Lord, our God; but to love each other as we love ourselves , possibly more so.  In order to love someone we have to care about them, their welfare, their hopes and dreams, their struggles.  We each have burdens and lessons to learn.  After we learn a lesson the Lord could put someone in your life to reinforce the lesson or teach to others.  What jeopardy do we place our soul in when we refuse to do as He asks of us?  Most know He is a loving and tolerant God and we are forgiven of much.  Shouldn’t those who have been “given” much forgiveness, give others forgiveness?  The lesson may be not just to show others love that covers all transgressions on us but to share the Lord’s love in forgiving.  This is not easy.  When someone misbehaves and acts selfishly it is hard to ask the Lord to show how to act in a loving manner towards that person.  And to ask the Lord to show them repentance so He will forgive them?  It is as though we ask the Lord to bless our enemies!  That’s not fair.  One must realize when we ask God to forgive, that in some way, He blesses us when we do as He tell us.  One most likely could gain a lot more than expected by yielding to Him.

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