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Monday, June 5, 2017

Abhorrent Grace

June 5

(Jonah 4:1-11 NIV)  "But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. {2} He prayed to the Lord, "O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. {3} Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live." {4} But the Lord replied, "Have you any right to be angry?" {5} Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. {6} Then the Lord God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. {7} But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. {8} When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live." {9} But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?" "I do," he said. "I am angry enough to die." {10} But the Lord said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. {11} But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?""

Many in the church see grace as abhorrent, rather than amazing. Some prefer justice to mercy... as long as it comes to others. We, who have been the recipients of God's grace, often want all those “rotten sinners” punished. When we hear the proverbial "turn or burn" sermon, we have a list of those who should be feeling the heat, and are secretly hoping for a bonfire. We may even come to church carrying the matches and the accelerant. What kind of God would have mercy on people who are immoral, cruel, and wicked? What kind of God would forgive sin, instead of punishing it? This is what happens when we look at people and see a lifestyle instead of an eternal soul. As those who have received God’s amazing grace, we must change our disobedient attitudes and check our critical spirits, for if we continue to think like this, we will end up becoming the abhorrent ones. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

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