I’ve often heard it said, “Hurt people – hurt people,” and I have to say, most often, this is the case. One of the hardest things to do is to extend grace, compassion, and lovingkindness toward people who have hurt us. Actually, we often hope even God will also withhold His grace, compassion, and lovingkindness toward others who have offended us in some way.
In chapter one of the book of Jonah, we discover a prophet who is in direct communication with God. He claims to fear God and serve Him faithfully. Yet, he chooses to disobey God out of a desire to see the people of Nineveh suffer because of their wickedness. Like Jonah, we too are often tempted to adopt an attitude of judgment while believing we are rightly worthy of God’s loving kindness and unconditional forgiveness.
It can be difficult to deny a desire for payback and embrace forgiveness.
In Jonah chapter four, Jonah is angry because God chose to forgive the people of Nineveh. As a matter of fact, he is so angry, he even asks God to take his life. He would rather be dead than to see his enemy receive God’s forgiveness. Yet, God out of unconditional love for those he’s created reminds Jonah that while he had compassion for things he did not create God is justified in having compassion on lost people whom He did create.
“Then the Lord said, ‘You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?’” Jonah 4:10-11
God wants us to understand and embrace this same principle as well. As Christians, we have been greatly blessed and graciously forgiven by God. In return, we are to extend that same forgiveness to others, even those who’ve hurt us.
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved,
put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just
as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” Colossians 3:12-13
Join me today in practicing compassion and forgiveness.
- Confess any un-forgiveness or bitterness you have toward people who’ve hurt you.
- Write down the names of those who have hurt you and pray for them.
- Memorize Colossian 3:12-13 and make it your goal to make these characteristics and integral part of your everyday life.