I made a big mistake recently. When someone close to me asked me a question about God I gave the wrong answer.
I’ve been so torn about how to answer this particular question that I just blurted out what I felt like saying in that moment. I immediately wished I could take my words back but that was impossible.
The moment passed but God didn’t want me to let it go because my pastor spoke about the very same thing this past Sunday… the perfect balance between love and grace. https://www.facebook.com/orchardschurch/videos/226439696319417/ (message starts at 37:00).
I never thought about the fact that God sent Jonah to Nineveh because He loved the people of Nineveh. That part of the story flew right by me every time I heard it for the past 24 years! I guess the shock of someone being swallowed by a fish and being in the belly of the fish for 3 days clouded my view of the more important part of the story.
Realizing the depths of God’s love for the people of Nineveh was a revelation for me, and I reflected on my ability to see God’s love for people instead of the pending judgment for their sin.
God lovingly showed me that the answer I blurted out earlier this week lacked love and grace.
God sent Jonah to Nineveh out of love first, so that they could escape judgment.
God sent Jesus to us out of love, so that we could escape judgment.
God gracefully changed His mind about judging the people of Nineveh when they turned from their evil ways.
God gracefully changed His mind about judging us when we turn from our evil ways.
God had compassion on the people of Nineveh.
God has compassion on us.
I told this person close to me that if someone chooses a lifestyle that is outside of what is pleasing to God, then they will go to hell. I can’t believe I said that. I can’t believe I missed the opportunity to tell this person about how much love and grace God has for everyone.
I wish I would’ve said that God is compassionate, slow to anger, abundant in mercy (Jonah 4:2), and that He gives people opportunities to turn from their choices and turn to Him.
His love transforms people.
He is merciful.
I am reminded of the countless times that God has chosen to love me despite my choices.
God knew that I couldn’t choose the right path without His help, so he sent Jesus to die for me.
I am not usually one to create a New Year’s resolution, but this year I have decided that I need to.
I have decided that I would like to love people with God’s love and mercy in every situation.
I want to love others, and see others the way that God sees me.