Jonah and the Pharisees are sober reminders that we can follow God on the outside, even at great lengths….and still not truly want what God wants.
What does God want?
He has shown us:
Until His glory covers the whole earth.
Do you know how Jonah insulted God?
He called him merciful.
He criticized him for being slow to anger and filled with “unfailing love”.
He accused God of being eager to turn back from destroying people.
And Jonah was right. But can you hear him spitting out these words?
This was scandalous in Jonah’s mind.
The same accusations were hurled against Jesus, only in different words. “He eats with sinners.”
The invitation to repentance is a compassionate plea that says “Change your mind about how you treat people. I don’t want this to come back on you and destroy you.”
This doesn’t mean nullifying consequences. It doesn’t mean “anything goes”. Doing justly means living with weaker people in mind and doing whatever it takes to protect victims. It means following through to make sure our systems change. But it also means that we don’t return hate with hate.
Oh, to be spat on for being slow to anger instead of for being hotheaded. For being compassionate instead of condemning. For being loving instead of argumentative.
This is the way Christians need to scandalize people.