Have you ever said, “I hate you?” or “I can’t stand that person.” I think at some point in our life we have all encountered difficult people who we find difficult to get along with. In fact, many of us, if asked, could probably name one or more persons that we really don’t enjoy being with.
Jonah is an incredible story filled with several great spiritual truths. One of those truths is the awesome power of hatred to limit and even render ineffective a man or woman of God.
Hatred in the lives of God’s people is a real tragedy. The tragedy is unveiled throughout the story of Jonah. The unmasking begins in chapter one and verse three. Take a moment and read Jonah 1: 1-3. In verse three, Jonah hates the people of Nineveh so much that he is willing to flee the presence of God rather than obey God.
It’s important to realize that hatred breeds disobedience, and disobedience has a ripple effect, touching those persons with whom we come into contact. Pause for a moment and read verses four through eleven of chapter one. Our actions affect others!
In chapters three and four, you’ll find that hatred robs the believer of joy. Take special note of chapter 4: 3. “Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”
Finally, hatred breeds self-obsession and destroys compassion. Look for a moment at chapter 4: 5-11.
What is the answer to this intense hatred in the heart of the believer? I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but I do. Is there anything I can do? The simple answer is yes, there is, but it is costly. 1John 1:9 tells us to confess, and He will forgive and cleanse.
In Ezekiel 11;19, God shouts the bottom line through His prophet, who reveals that God alone can restore and make a perfect heart!