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What do you think of when you hear the story of Jonah?

We usually think of Jonah as the main character. His disobedience landed him in the belly of the fish. Then he repented and he went to preach in Ninevah. After hearing God’s message through Jonah, the Ninevites repented and were not destroyed.

What is amazing to me is not Jonah, but God’s ability to forgive so quickly and seemingly easily.

The Ninevites had done some pretty awful things. They have for centuries been a disobedient bunch, a mean and violent people. Yet when they simply ask for forgiveness, God forgave them, just like that. They did not have to pay their debts, they did not have to offer sacrifices, they did not have to commit to a life of servitude to earn that forgiveness.

We seem to take it for granted that when we ask God for forgiveness, He is somehow obligated to forgive us. “Well, I ask for forgiveness. God must’ve forgiven me, so everything is fine.”

Have you ever had to forgive someone who did something really horrible to you? It’s hard, isn’t it? Let’s say you find it in your heart to forgive him. Now you would expect him to act better and not do it again, wouldn’t you? “I’ll forgive you this time, but just do it to me again!”

If someone wronged us over and over again, would we forgive them again and again?

Yet with God, we wrong Him over and over again, and we expect him to forgive us over and over again.

Grace and forgiveness is not cheap. Jesus paid the price. Whenever we confess and ask for forgiveness, remember it was not “easy” for God.  When we fully understand that on a daily basis, we understand how we can love a God that we cannot see.

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