(This week’s devotions are based on Sunday’s message: Grace for All…Grace Upsets- LISTEN HERE)
Why is it hard to rejoice when good things happen to other people?
If you had siblings, do you remember the birthday of your brother or sisters being a sad day? Do you remember being disappointed when they got all the attention and you didn’t…even though you got your special day on your birthday?
Do you remember when you were older and a classmate got an award you were working hard to achieve or a teammate got a starting position on the team you thought you were going to get?
Do you remember in your working career hearing of a coworker receiving a promotion to a position you thought you were going to be next in line to receive?
How did you feel?
Perhaps a few of you were genuinely able to rejoice and be happy for your sibling, classmate or coworker…but…
I would guess that many of us (and I will include myself) struggle at times to celebrate the wins of other people…especially when we thought WE deserved the recognition, position or promotion more than they did.
Therein lies the problem.
To be sure there are times when injustice occurs, but often it is an injustice WE have determined occurred even though we are not the ones responsible for determining the position or promotion. We just think THEY don’t deserve it as much as WE do.
As we finish the book of Jonah this week, this is an attitude the prophet Jonah wrestled with. With little effort on Jonah’s part, the WHOLE city of Nineveh repented and the Lord did not bring the disaster he had threatened. You would think that there would be rejoicing in Jonah’s heart, hugs to the king of Nineveh and a parade praising the mercy and grace of God.
Here’s what happened:
4 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD, “O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee 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. 3 Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
4 But the LORD replied, “Have you any right to be angry?” (Jonah 4:1-4)
Jonah knew that the Lord was compassionate and his grace would prevail when the hearts of the people of Nineveh repented…but he was hoping the Lord wouldn’t. Why? I just believe he just wanted the people of Nineveh to experience the wrath of God. He didn’t think they deserved grace because they were enemies of God’s people and their wickedness was great.
But that’s exactly what grace is.
God’s love shown that is NOT deserved. And it is completely in the realm of God’s heart to distribute and show his grace.
Jonah wasn’t partying, but the angels in heaven were over the many in Nineveh who repented.
Luke 15:10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Nineveh had repented. That was a great thing.
Our hearts need to repent when our self-righteous pride gets in the way of rejoicing when blessing comes to others…especially the blessing of God’s grace.
Apply: What makes it hard for you to rejoice at the success of others? At the grace of God that comes to others?
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for discounting your grace when you choose to show it to others. Help me to realize your grace is not deserved but given…even to me. AMEN.