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SHOW COMPASSION NOT CONDEMNATION

Posted by Job on March 1, 2007

Jonah 4: 10, 11 – Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

A lot of times we deal with the unsaved, and they really hurt us with their behavior and ways. Some of them are violent, some of them are users, some of them are backstabbers, some of them are just plain hateful. When you show good to someone and just get evil back in return, it is easy to desire to treat them in turn. Or we desire to go to God and ask God to punish them for how they treated his anointed. Or we just desire to not deal with them anymore. We decide that we will just go deal with people who are more grateful and willing to receive help. You might either say that the people who are at least minimally nice and respectful to you have reached a point where they are worthy of you and God to help them, and think that before you can help hateful people you first have to pray for them and they have to make the first step and seek change from God also. Or you may decide that you just aren’t ready yet, not strong enough in your faith, to deal with people like that and that you will leave the tough cases for others.

Of course, it does not just have to be what someone does to you or even someone you love. You can just see people out there doing wicked evil things and just get so angry at them. You get filled with righteous indignation and a sense of justice, and start wishing that those hateful hard hearted homewreckers, oppressors, criminals, etc. just get crushed. You start remembering how hard your life has been, filled with slights, trials, fears, and disappointments, and you feel that it is OK for you to pour it all out on these miscreants. And why not? They are not only sinners but sinners who have hurt vulnerable, innocent, good people. They deserve to receive punishment on earth for the wickedness that they have done on earth. And for you to mete out that punishment by pouring out your loathing onto them is a cathartic experience. It helps you relieve stress. It helps you feel better. Most of all, it helps you to feel BETTER than SOMEONE ELSE. Despite all of your flaws and downfalls, despite how you constantly feel that you are inches away from falling into a blackhole whirlpool vortex downward spiral, you are STILL BETTER THAN SOMEONE ELSE. Right?What we are doing is forgetting the book of Jonah. Jonah sticks out as a sore thumb in the Old Testament. Most of the Old Testament, especially in the prophets section of which Jonah is in, deals with God pouring out His wrath upon sinners. But here God is showing mercy, first to Jonah and then to Nineveh. Second, the Old Testament usually deals with the Jewish people only; the favored status of the sons of Abraham. But here, God tells not only a Hebrew but a prominent Hebrew prophet to humble himself and go help people who were not only pagans but enemies of the Jews. The back – story that is not included in the Bible but is generally acknowledged by theologians is that the Ninevites (a city in Assyria) were a murderous idolatrous group of people who oft attacked Israel, and in one of such attacks Jonah’s hometown was destroyed and several close family members were killed. Though God protected and blessed Jonah and raised him up to be a mighty man of God, a prophet, Jonah kept his anger, resentment, hate, and fear towards the Ninevites in his heart.
Jonah WANTED the Ninevites to continue to sin until God destroyed them, and not because removing their sin from the earth would please God but because he personally wanted payback for how they had hurt him. Jonah so wanted this that he himself was willing to die outside the will of God – thereby jeopardizing his own eternal soul – than see the people that he had spent his life hating receive salvation. Jonah actually spent three days inside the belly of the fish (often incorrectly called a whale, but actually was a big fish, which may be translated as leviathan as spoken of in the book of Job … note that Jonah stated that he was in the belly of HELL meaning that it was no regular sea creature) until finally he broke down and prayed for forgiveness and agreed to do God’s will. Even after his ordeal, he merely warned the Ninevites not for their sake but rather to obey God hoping that God would still destroy them. Once they repented and it became clear that not only did God have mercy on the Ninevites but used Jonah as his agent of mercy, salvation and deliverance, Jonah begged for God to kill HIM. Why? Because Jonah was still unwilling to let go of his hate, anger, fear, desire for revenge, his feelings of superiority, etc. … his DEMONS.

Yet God still pitied and had mercy on Jonah despite his disobedience, rebellion, and willingness to hold onto corruption even in the presence of God! At this point, it becomes apparent that God did not send Jonah to Nineveh to save NINEVAH. Indeed, God could have sent someone else without all the baggage. Rather, Jonah’s baggage was why Jonah was sent! God sent Jonah to warn Ninevah to save JONAH. That was why God did not allow Jonah to disobey Him. Jonah was willing to either drown in the sea or die in the belly of hell than obey God, but after three days in the belly of hell he saw that he had no choice: God would not suffer him to die! Even after Jonah did God’s will and begged God to slay him, God refused, for God still wished to work on Him and use Jonah as His prophet. God told Jonah to do the ONE THING that Jonah would rather die than do because he wanted Jonah to relent and renounce those demons that he had been walking in agreement with for so long; demons had been tormenting him and keeping him from becoming all that he could be for his God.

What is mighty revealing is when God gave the reason why He chose to warn and forgive Nineveh for all they had done rather than destroy them. God called them “persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand”, which is to say that they did not know any better. The Ninevites were acting with so much evil because good had not been shown to them. They had never been taught and never been warned by anyone with the knowledge of the love of God. Until they were taught; until they were warned, how could they be expected to act any differently? How could they be held responsible for their actions? Yet here was Jonah, one of God’s own chosen, someone who knew the love of God and was responsible for spreading the word of God, someone who knew better, choosing to be disobedient. Choosing to hold onto his demons. Choosing hate, fear, and resentment over God’s love to the point where he preferred to throw away his life and risk his eternal soul. Hoping that God would still destroy them even AFTER they repented and promised to serve HIS GOD, and after God did not he refused to accept God’s will, judged God as being unfair to him, and wanted to die. Jonah, a man who knew God, kept choosing his demons over God, captivity over deliverance, torment over happiness, slavery over freedom. JONAH, a prophet of God, was the REAL SINNER HERE, not the Ninevites, and God was giving him chance after chance to see the error of his ways.

And that is how we must be with the world, the unsaved, and that includes church people who sit in pews and hear the preacher every Sunday and are still evil because they have not accepted God into their lives, do not believe, and will not submit to God’s will. Of course, God will not send you to help everyone, because everyone does not want to be helped. Some people have just hardened their hearts, been given over to reprobate minds as spoken of by Paul in Romans and II Corinthians, and God will specifically direct you not to deal with them. Yes, there are such people in our very churches! But others still have a chance. Others can still be saved. Others badly want to be saved. But because they are not saved, they do not know how to act. They do not know right from wrong. They cannot help hurting people. They do wrong even when they want to do right. Some of these people get so filled with despair that they WANT to die; they WANT to contract AIDS; they WANT to go to prison. They start feeling that they deserve no less.

And these are the people who do us wrong. They are the ones who do others wrong. It is dealing with such people that causes us to have broken hearts and tried faith, and we beg God to remove us from those people or those people from us. But nay, we cannot abandon those who cannot discern their right hand from their left. We cannot leave people who still have the potential to be good into the hands of tormentors. We have to help such people. We have to take them to the throne of God so that they can receive salvation, healing, and deliverance from demon spirits through Jesus Christ. We do this for the sakes of the innocent people that they might hurt. We do this for their sakes. And yes, we do this for our own sakes! Again, those people lack the capacity to act any other way. They have not been taught any different, they do not know any better, moreover since they lack the power and knowledge in the Name of Christ Jesus, they could not be any better or different if they tried because they are under such demonic oppression that they do not have control over their own behavior. They cannot even see the world as it truly is. But YOU know better. YOU have the power of Christ.

But instead of using that power of Christ to fulfill the commandments of Christ and go and teach all nations and to turn the other cheek, instead of glorying in what we suffer for doing God’s will and counting it all for joy, we decide that we want to have our pride. We decide that we are too good to be treated this way. We think that because we have accepted Christ we should be kept and protected from all shame, hurt, and humiliation and not have to suffer anything; that being a Christian is all fun and games, some big party. We decide that the unsaved deserve what they get because of their worldly behavior, and that we are going to just sit around and gleefully witness their destruction for all the things that they have done to us and others. In other words, we, despite knowing better, despite having the power to resist the enemy using the Name of Jesus Christ so that he will flee from us, decide that we would rather hold onto our demons. We decide that we want to reject God’s desire to use our interactions with those who may be saved – those who want to be saved – to help not only them but us. We decide that we only care about helping ourselves, and if God is going to help us it is going to have to be directly and not through His using someone else. We decide that if God is going to give us anything, that we are not going to have to suffer things for it, to work for it, that it is going to be free. Well the only thing that is free is SALVATION.

Here is news for you deluded folks. Everything else comes at a labor, a cost, a price. We have to get on our knees and pray, make supplications, and fasting. We are going to suffer many things just as Christ did. Christ is our master; is the servant superior to His Master? Yet we are unwilling to submit to Christ or to God through our service to others as Christ did when He washed the feet of the very disciples who would later betray, deny, and abandon Him! When we, who can see, act in such a manner, we are being bigger sinners than they. Of course all of our sins are covered and paid for by the Blood of Jesus. But that knowledge should give you even more compassion and a bigger desire to help those who are acting evil without the protection and covering of the Blood; those who are in danger of eternal damnation should they perish while yet in sin. Instead, we wish to shun them, hope for their destruction, and treat their sins worse than we do of those who are saved, have heard The Word, know better, and have power and authority over the enemy and their own behavior. For instance, just as Paul said to the Corinthians, sexual immorality is a common problem in many churches. But so long as it remains in the church, we keep our mouths shut. We give them a pass. But people who engage in the same behavior in the streets? We get all outraged and declare how their behavior is going to cause God to rain fire down from Heaven and consume them all! The truth is that the sinners in the church are bigger sinners than those in the streets, and so are those who sit quiet and don’t do anything to correct their brothers and sisters in the church OR help their brothers and sisters in the streets! The brothers and sisters sinning in the streets are more likely to act right were the Gospel preached to them than the old entrenched self – righteous church folks! The church folks know this, and that is why they don’t WANT them preached to; they don’t WANT them in the church! They want to sit and be self – righteous lukewarm sinners.

It is time for us to come out of that. We need to stop being agents of condemnation and start being agents of salvation. When the world abuses and spitefully misuses us, we have to be willing to give up those demons of pride, fear, rebellion, anger, resentment, and revenge and be clean ourselves so we can get right back out there in the streets, in our workplaces, in our families, and yes in our very churches and keep at it until we help someone else. We need to stay involved with those people so that we can pray for them, so we can give The Word to them, so that we can show them love with our own behavior so that one day they might give their lives to God. You cannot say “Let someone stronger help that person” because very often God has appointed YOU to help them. You cannot say “Wait until I get stronger in the faith so I can help them” because tomorrow is not promised to THEM or to YOU. Of course if you try to help them, they will act worse and worse. They will put all your business out in the street, they will lie on you, try to shun you and get others to, they will even threaten you. Why? Because the demons that are in them don’t want to let that person go. But if you hold it against that person and withhold your help from them, you are not doing the will of God, you are not maintaining your own integrity, you are surrendering and being disobedient. You are giving up the good fight. Did others do the same when your soul was on the line? Even if you are one of those people who accepted Christ at a very young age, you still have to realize that Jesus Christ fought the good fight until the end when your soul was on the line. It is your job to hang in there and do the same for someone else.

Even if it is not someone that you know personally, but rather someone you hear about or read about, maybe someone that his committed some horrific crime, do not be so willing to rush to pour out your bile on that person. Instead, ask God for permission to pray for that person’s salvation and deliverance. Consider that person’s background: did he or she grow up with a mother or father who brought him or her to church? If so, was that person hurt by a synagogue of Satan and turned against the faith as a result? Is that person under the influence of demons? Does that person have a family that still cares for his or her life and welfare? We are so in the throes of a “lock him up and throw away the key/give him the chair/run her out of town” society that we have forgotten what God’s will is. It is God’s will that EVERYONE be saved, no matter who they are or what they have done. The people who best realize that are death row chaplains who entreat people who committed the most grisly crimes to accept salvation through Christ. Do you have the love of God in you to serve in that same capacity should God call you? Or are you so hard – hearted, so needful of someone to pour out your bad feelings on, that you would refuse? If you are, you are being just like Jonah.

The Body of Christ has to get right before God to make way for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. One of the things that has to be done is to learn the lesson that God wanted to teach Jonah: how to put aside our own feelings, renounce our own demons, and help someone else.

Prayer:
Lord in the name of Jesus Christ please help me to show love and compassion to others no matter what they have done or how they have treated me so that others might find Christ through my actions. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Deliverance:The demons that operate in this area are fear, pride, self – importance, hate, resentment, and desire for revenge. This causes Christians to harden their hearts against people who God wants us to lead to Christ. Please read the Basic Spiritual Warfare guide to learn more about how to go against these demons to help set captives free and win battles in the name of your God through the power, authority, and victory given to you by his Son Jesus Christ and by his blood shed for you!

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