"This is why I fled at first to Tarshish. I knew that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, rich in clemency, loathe to punish." —Jonah 4:2
Jonah at first refused to call the Ninevites to repentance because he refused to forgive them for the atrocities they had committed against his people. Jonah's attitude of unforgiveness would have been viewed by most Israelites of his time as a cry for justice, not seeing that it was actually masking Jonah's selfishness.
The Lord unmasked Jonah's selfishness by sending a worm to kill the plant that gave Jonah cool shade (Jon 4:7). Jonah became so upset about losing his "air conditioner" that he wished he was dead (Jon 4:8). Jonah cared more about his own comfort than about life, especially the lives of 120,000 Ninevites (see Jon 4:10-11).
God is just. Therefore, His followers must stand up for justice. However, sometimes our cries for justice are deceptive. Unforgiveness is a symptom that what we call justice may be an excuse for indulging our selfishness. For example, many people promote capital punishment as an expression of justice. However, if we have not forgiven even the worst offenders 70 x 7 times (Mt 18:22), our cries for justice may be excuses for selfishness. This is fundamentally unjust.
Prayer: Father, may Your love break the spell of selfishness in my life.
Promise: "Forgive us our sins for we too forgive all who do us wrong." —Lk 11:4
Praise: St. Bruno was a great teacher of theology. One of his students, Urban, later became a pope.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, April 10, 1999
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 16, 1999
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