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. But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry.” vss.10-4:1Jonah 3:10-4:1
Jonah was called the reluctant prophet for good reason. He had no love for Assyria, the fierce enemy of Israel, and when God told him to go to Nineveh, the capital, and call on them to repent, he refused to go. One great fish encounter later, he reluctantly obeyed, went to Nineveh, and preached. To his great surprise the people responded, and everyone, from the king to the cattle of the field, covered themselves in sackcloth and ashes, and repented. So God did not punish them! And Jonah was bummed. He became very angry. Jonah had the same gene as many of us, the one that resents the mercy that God showers on people who do not deserve it. We become conscious of that gene’s presence whenever there is a proposal to increase welfare benefits or expand some social program. Some of the angriest protesters are people of faith, folks who have received countless blessings from God, but are angry at the possibility that these benefit recipients might be undeserving. Like Jonah, even though they know that God is gracious and merciful, they would prefer that there be limits on God’s compassion — and that they are the ones who should set the standards.
Thought for the Day: What social programs are most controversial?