• 2 Kings 14:23-29
  • Jonah 1:1-4:11

“But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. So the captain came and said to him, ‘What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.'” –Jonah 1:4-6, ESV

The account of Jonah is often used, and rightfully so, as a lesson on what happens when we run away from God’s calling on our lives. Sermons spoken to elucidate that God’s will shall not be thwarted. Missives penned on the disgruntled approach of Jonah. And these are applicable.

What struck me today was how this account can be a metaphor for our lives when we refuse to forgive. I will not stretch the real story to say Jonah was unforgiving (though he was pretty judgmental of the Ninevites). However, when I walk around with unforgiveness and bitterness in my heart, I may not see it, but the waves and wind around me begin to swirl. The people in my life begin to get the rough end of my emotions. And all the while, like Jonah, I hang out apart from the destruction, thinking nobody is any the wiser of my bitterness. But bitterness has to go somewhere. Physical law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It would seem true then that for every pent-up emotion, there is an equal and opposite result of that emotion. Sometimes that result only kills us; one need only look at the incidences of stress-related illnesses to see where pent-up emotion gets you. But more often than not, the pent-up energy expresses itself in the world around us.

If you are hanging onto bitterness, deceit, or unforgiveness (or any other negative, sinful thoughts), take a step back and look how the winds and the waves of your life are reacting. Take stock. Then take care of the emotion. It will not go away. Like the men on the boat with Jonah, the world will take note, and they will eventually figure out it is your negative influence destroying the ship. Take care of it now; save yourself and your companions in life. Holding the grudge is just not worth the price.

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