What happens when you are supposed to be concerned about people you really do not like? What if you are to tell them something that could be for their own good, but you do not want them to hear it for fear they might do it?
That is what we find today in the reading from Jonah. While we do not get the whole story from the short book of Jonah, the story is probably familiar enough to us.
God asks Jonah to warn the people of Nineveh. Jonah does not want to so because he is afraid they will convert. So he runs away. But ignoring God does not go well for him. He winds up right back where he started. And when he delivers the warning, the people of Nineveh repent, which is precisely what Jonah did not want.
Can you wish good to people you do not like? Can you love enemies and pray for persecutors? Can you find it in your heart to do good to those who hate you?
We have so many chances today to do good to people we may not like. There are immigrants, refugees and migrants. There might be someone where we work who we find annoying. We may find those of different political parties to be too annoying to wish good.
But the kingdom of God extends to everyone. All people are invited by God to be saved. It is for this reason that all followers of God should willingly and generously extend the gospel of salvation to all people. No one is beyond the salvation of God.
Jonah knew of God’s desire to save all people. He did not like it, but eventually, because of his faith, he allowed God to use him to deliver a message of salvation. Let us pray. Dear Jesus, you know there are people I do not like. There are people who get under my skin. There are people I might actually wish ill towards. Help me, today, to be more open to you, allowing you to use me as a vehicle of salvation for all people, even those I do not like. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Music: Cheezy Piano Medley by Alexander Nakarada