Journal Articles

Below is a list of journal articles written by the JMissions authors. The opinions expressed in these entries do not represent the position of any organization, but only reflect the position of the author.

Webmaster:"Author Avatars"
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Aziz: "Church Growth and God’s Plan"
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Brit: "There is a Little Bit of Jonah in All of Us"
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Brit: "Churches in Jerusalem and Bethlehem: Clinical Assessment and Needs"
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Aziz: "The Myth of Ethics/Morality in War"
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Marie: "Is War a Christian Value? (Sept.11th Commentary)"
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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

There is a Little Bit of Jonah in All of Us


Sometimes God and his mercy are hard to accept when we see injustice in the world. When I see this injustice I often react in the same way that Jonah did with the people of Nineveh. First he did not want to go and preach to them because he knew that God was slow to anger and abounding in love. He did not want to see a city full of violence and wickedness benefit from God's patience and forgiveness. Then when he finally did go to Nineveh after being persuaded to obey God by spending three days and nights in the belly of a large fish he became very angry when God did exactly what he had feared. Jonah really wanted the satisfaction of seeing the city destroyed. He wanted justice to prevail not mercy.

We are often like Jonah. We see injustice in the world on all fronts. Here in Israel the Israeli government is able to get away with crime after crime against the Palestinians and no one is stepping in to stop them. They keep taking more and more land and building a wall that they never had authorization to build while all the powers that are supposed to regulate such acts just sit back and watch. In addition, God also seems to do nothing. We begin to wonder, "Does God not see what is happening? Does he not care about the calamity of an oppressed people? Why isn't he stepping in and striking these people down? Why isn't he putting this oppressive government in its place?" We wonder this about all the injustice in the world. The United States government commits crime after crime against humanity in countries they really should not even be in and God does nothing. We look to churches to be a safe haven from this injustice. We expect them to have a higher standard of morality than the rest of the unfaithful world, but even churches have leaders who rise in power through corruption and exploitation of God's people and it seems to go unnoticed by our God. This is when we begin to understand why Jonah was angry enough to die. He was angry at God's mercy and patience with the city of Nineveh.

So how did God respond to Jonah? He gave him a vine to shade him from the sun and then he took it away which made Jonah even angrier. This is a very interesting act on God's part. He showed Jonah what it was like to feel the effects of mercy and justice. Jonah didn't do anything to deserve the vine, but God gave it to him and Jonah was grateful for the vine. He enjoyed God's mercy and when the vine was gone he became angry again, but Jonah deserved to suffer the effects of the intense heat for his disrespectful attitude towards God and his disobedience from the beginning. Jonah wanted justice for the people of Nineveh but mercy for himself.

We can often be this way. We have been forgiven of so much yet we get frustrated with God when he does the same for others. We think that he should step in and uphold justice with those who hurt us but when we hurt others we want him to be merciful. In the end we are the unjust ones, wanting God to act one way with us and another way with others. In Micah 6:8 it says that what God requires of us is "to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God". We are to extend mercy to one another because we have been given mercy and it is only fair/just to allow the same benefit to fall on someone else that has been given to us. We are to love mercy and to walk in humility with God. This means to trust that he knows what is best for the Ninevehs of this world. Jonah made himself miserable with his anger. It is much better to trust God in humility and just obey him. Rather than cling to our idea of justice and insist that God do things our way it is much more enjoyable to walk humbly with a merciful God.

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