December 19, 2016
Read: Jonah 3:10–4:11
Bible in a Year: Jonah 1–4; Revelation 10
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?—Luke 6:32
When war broke out in 1950, fifteen-year-old Kim Chin-Kyung joined the South Korean army to defend his homeland. He soon found, however, that he wasn’t ready for the horrors of combat. As young friends died around him, he begged God for his life and promised that, if allowed to live, he would learn to love his enemies.
Sixty-five years later, Dr. Kim reflected on that answered prayer. Through decades of caring for orphans and assisting in the education of North Korean and Chinese young people, he has won many friends among those he once regarded as enemies. Today he shuns political labels. Instead he calls himself a loveist as an expression of his faith in Jesus.
The prophet Jonah left a different kind of legacy. Even a dramatic rescue from the belly of a big fish didn’t transform his heart. Although he eventually obeyed God, Jonah said he’d rather die than watch the Lord show mercy to his enemies (Jonah 4:1-2, 8).
We can only guess as to whether Jonah ever learned to care for the people of Nineveh. Instead we are left to wonder about ourselves. Will we settle for his attitude toward those we fear and hate? Or will we ask God for the ability to love our enemies as He has shown mercy to us? —Mart DeHaan
Father in heaven, like Your reluctant prophet, we are inclined to love only those who love us. Yet You loved us even when we cared only for ourselves. Please give us the grace to be more like Jesus than Jonah.
Love conquers all.
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