Accepting God’s grace is essential to the Christian life, but so too is distributing it. The two go hand in hand. After all, if God has forgiven you of your sins, then surely you can forgive others. This is not necessarily always the case.
Following a heartfelt encounter with God inside the belly of a whale, the previously rebellious Jonah obeys God’s command to go to Nineveh and preach against the ensuing violence. What then takes place is nothing short of extraordinary. In the span of three days, the people of Nineveh - all 120 thousand - turned from their evil ways and believed in God. As a result, the Lord relented and did not bring on them the destruction that he had threatened.
Despite this extraordinary scene of events, the prophet has grown bitter of God’s kindness to these people. As is narrated in Jonah 4:1, “But to Jonah this seemed very wrong and he became angry.” It gets to the point that Jonah even asks God that he would take his life away.
Now it’s one thing that Jonah might be flustered of God’s mercy towards an Israel-enemy, since Nineveh is part of Assyria. But it’s more baffling because Jonah had initially fled from this mission, and realized God’s great mercy for his own life. If we want to extend grace to others, we need to keep coming back to this reality in our own lives.