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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Jonah's Rage

“But the LORD asked (Jonah), "Have you reason to be angry?"

God’s question to Jonah is stark, direct and demanding. It could be addressed to any of us. Put another way, God says: Are you angry with me for forgiving people? Have you been so hurt by another’s sin that you cannot, will not let go? Clearly, Jonah did not expect the people of Nineveh to listen to him or God when he walked through their city demanding repentance. When they listen and repent, he wonders about their sincerity. His caution is such that he will not allow himself near those who sin or the God who forgives. How awful, but how ordinary

Unresolved anger can be a terrible cancer in our families, churches and world. Although understandable, Jonah’s anger is unacceptable. Jonah holds onto the awful memory of the armies of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, destroying Jerusalem. As long he clings to his anger, he cannot imagine anyone, even God, forgiving. Unfortunately, when this kind of anger takes root in us and remains unaddressed in our families and churches it becomes like a resistant weed that we tear off on the surface, but fail to dig deeper to remove the roots.Think, for instance, about the rage some continue to hold against Muslims everywhere because of ISIS or Al-Qaeda.

Anger extended over a lifetime rots our spirits like a piece of fruit left too long off the vine. The single most important aspect of life in the Spirit is to remain connected to the vine who is Christ. This dimension of our spiritual lives necessarily involves forgiveness and letting go. Jonah could not do it. Can we?

Today ask God not just to free you from the entanglement and twisted thinking that is the result of unresolved anger, ask to be free of the buried memories that slowly kill us a day at a time.

What about our faith helps you let go of anger?

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