Jonah 1:13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before.
This part of the story makes me feel downright ashamed. Jonah, who was a servant of the One true, compassionate, God, showed no compassion for the thousands of people in Ninevah who needed God’s love. But these sailors, who had little knowledge of our God, tried with all their might to save Jonah. They showed compassion, when Jonah should have been modeling that trait for them.
It makes me feel ashamed because, in our “Christian” culture, this same story seems to pop up again and again. Instead of compassion, we show judgment. We don’t like sinners, but we forget that we too are sinners. We don’t like people who are wicked and depraved. But in God’s eyes, we are every bit as wicked and depraved as the next guy.
Friends, God doesn’t call us to judge anyone. That’s His job, and He doesn’t need our help. He does call us to reach out to those around us with love, compassion and mercy.
Our job is to love. Period.
His job is to judge.
It’s a downright shame when people who don’t even know God show more compassion than we who know Him. But the truth is, in order to show true compassion, we have to rub shoulders with people who make us uncomfortable. Just as Jonah didn’t want to go hang out with the Ninevites, we often don’t want to hang with alcoholics or drug addicts or adulterers or criminals or people with “less than respectable” diseases. It’s easier to write them off. It’s easier to judge them.
Shame on Jonah, and shame on us. I want to stop trying to do God’s job. I’m not very good at it. I want to do my job – loving people – the best I can.
Dear Father, I want to show compassion and mercy to all people, the way You do. Forgive me for judging people. Help me to love them.