Relentless can be synonymous with persistent, perseverance, not giving up. Resentless is a word that I made up. Hopefully by the end of this you will understand what it means to me.
In Jonah 1-3, Jonah is called to go to Ninevah. Jonah doesn’t want to do it, so he runs to Tarshish, jumps on a ship, storm hits, they know it’s his fault, they throw him overboard. That’s chapter one.
Chapter two is Jonah’s prayer from inside the fish’s belly. Jonah thanks God for being with him. Jonah even thanks God for deliverance even though he has been in this fish for a few days. Chapter two ends with the fish throwing up Jonah.
Chapter three is where Jonah finally gave in to God, stopped running, (after all it’s the least he could do since God has saved him endlessly to this point) and went to Ninevah.
The people repent. Jonah doesn’t like it. Remember? These people are enemies of Jonah’s. He just wants them killed like God said He was going to do back in chapter one. Instead, the people accept Jonah’s message and decide to live a different way. Jonah informs them of the forty day wait period. After forty days, everyone will find out if it kaboom or forgiveness.
God changed His mind.
Jonah goes up on top of this hill in chapter 4. Keep in mind verses 1-4 of Jonah 4 are actually the end of the book. You have to start Jonah 4 at verse 5. Verse 5 and following is nothing but the Jonah pity party.
Jonah goes on this hill where he is probably looking over the city waiting for God to blow it up. That doesn’t happen.
God provides a plant to give Jonah shade on this hill. God then provides a worm shortly after to kill this plant. Jonah is furious over this plant dying.
God essentially informs Jonah that he has so much care for this plant that he had nothing to do with bringing into existence. Yet if Jonah only cared for people as much as he did for this one plant, things would be so different.
When you go back to verse 1 things really get sticky. Jonah gives God a big, “I told you so!” Jonah says he knew God was going to do this.
Jonah knew all along that God was gracious, merciful, forgiving, loving. Jonah knew God was going to forgive the people in Ninevah and not kill them all. Jonah attempts to justify his running by claiming this. Jonah tells God he ran because he did not want anything to do with the reconciliation of his enemies.
Jonah tells God two, for lack of a better word, crazy, things: 1) I would rather die than not have this plant; 2) I would rather die than see those people be forgiven.
Before we jump on the, “Jonah you are a prophet called by God! You have a book in the Bible named after you! What is wrong with you?!?” bandwagon, let us consider ourselves…
Think about the person you cannot stand the most. Think about that person that at some point in your life you have nearly hated. Go ahead, think about them a second…
Now is it all that unrealistic of Jonah to feel the way he did? We say we love everybody. Most of the time we follow that with, “because I know I am supposed to.” When will the day come when we do truly pray for our enemies? When will the day come when we wish the best for those we seemingly hate?
If we always live in resentment, it literally drags our lives through mud. We may eventually move on in life, but the bitterness we have in our hearts toward others will make our lives miserable.
Jonah didn’t get it. He would rather die than not have that one plant. He would rather die than see these people redeemed. Are we so different?
Live a resentless life. Think about it. What if God held on to what you have done wrong? What if thousands of years ago, Jesus was about to get on the cross and said, “I change my mind. I know what these people have done to me. What they have said about me. I know what all the people after me are going to do and say. Forget about it…”?
God is resentless. God does not hold on to bitterness. He gives us opportunity after opportunity to accept His forgiveness. God also gives us opportunities to forgive others.
Opportunity to accept the forgiveness He has for our enemies. God loves your enemy just as much as He loves you. That’s hard to accept sometimes.
There is nothing you can do to make God love you any more or any less. That also goes for your enemy. This blessing is not just for us, but for them.
Ever since Abraham, Genesis 22 to be precise, we are told to be a blessing to others. If you have resentment in your heart toward someone else, if you would rather see them dead than forgiven, you are not being a blessing.
Appreciate the blessing you have. God does not resent you, so you should not resent anybody else.