At Issue Index   In Touch Index  June Index   Previous   Next

IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

Witnesses Unto Me JUNE 12


Jonah was greatly displeased and angry, and he prayed to the Lord: 'This, O Lord, is what I feared when I was in my own country . . . ; I knew that thou art a god gracious . . . and always willing to repent. . . . 'And now, Lord, take my life: I should be better dead than alive." Jonah 4:1-3, N.E.B.

It was payday for Nineveh. God commissioned the prophet Jonah to go and call on the city to repent. On hearing God's judgment message, all the people turned to God. As their heavenly Father, God showed mercy and saved them.

But Jonah was angry with God because His love and mercy was wider than his own. Men would fain cut God down to their own size. Jonah was honest enough to explain his refusal at first to go to Nineveh. But his explanation is almost beyond belief: "I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth thee of the evil" (Jonah 4:2).

Because Jonah was a prophet of God, his lack of compassion for the wicked people of Nineveh condemned him. Do you believe that God loves all men without distinction of race or creed? Do you believe that the love and mercy of God is as wide as the world? Do you cherish the hope that God will be gracious and full of mercy to your opposers and enemies? Better be an unbeliever than a professed Christian who has not learned "there's a wideness in God's mercy like the wideness of the sea."

The vitality of our fault depends on the success with which it succeeds in providing real answers to the disturbing conditions in human lives.

Christian experience can neither be imposed nor imputed front without. It is possible to advocate truth in a spirit that is not really Christian, to hurt the cause of Christ by the way we advocate Him. The presence of judgment and condemnation when seeking to communicate the truth to others discloses our own lack of trust and peace with God. To be able to express love while seeking to win others to Christ is a mark of a mature Christian. No technique for taking the gospel and the message to others is of any use in the hands of a critical and judgmental operator. The atmosphere of Christian love is Christ's only method of conveying the truth to people.

At Issue Index   In Touch Index  June Index   Previous   Next