I’ve been pondering a question that was asked by Dr. Paul David Tripp in his video series entitled “JONAH: You Can’t Outrun Grace”. His question was “Do you share God’s heart?”
I’m sure I’ve heard the question, in one form or another in my nearly forty years of being a Christian, but in the context it was presented, which was Jonah running from God and God not giving up on him, the question seemed to germinate in me and forced me to examine how I look upon and react to others.
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, am I responding to people, some in tough situations: some in situations they created, some in situation others created, as Jesus would respond to them? Do I have a tender heart for the needy or do I have a “Too Bad For Them” attitude?
In Jonah’s case, God told him to preach to enemies of Israel. Jonah responded by saying “No, I’m not going to do it!” Well, you know what happened! Dr. Tripp pointed out God’s graciousness to Jonah and to the people of Nineveh, by not giving up on Jonah. God extended His grace to people unworthy of His blessing and still does. That’s why it’s called grace.
… for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Jonah 4:2 ESV
I thought of others in the Scripture that Jesus could have overlooked, but didn’t. In each of these cases, I tried to think of how Jesus actions impacted and changed their lives. I realize there could be many more added to this list, but these are the ones I thought of:
- Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well (John 4) – She had had multiple husbands and was currently living with a man not her husband. Jesus gave her the water that she truly thirsted for and changed her life. Changed her entire town!
- Invalid man at the Pool of Bethesda (John 5) – Unable to move for several years due to his ailments. Jesus spoke to him and said, “Come with me.” The man got up and went with him. Think how his live was changed that day!
- Woman caught in adultery (John 8) – The Pharisee’s brought her to Jesus hoping to have her stoned to death. Instead, Jesus started writing in the sand with all of her accusers walking away, leaving her alone with Jesus. Jesus, instead of having her stoned, according to the Law, forgave her and said, “Go, and sin no more.” He gave her life and freed her of her guilt and shame.
- Ten lepers healed (Luke 17) – Only one came back to thank him for his healing, a Samaritan. Lepers were outcast. They were to cry out as they walked, “UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN!” No one would come near them. No one would touch them. They not only had physical hardships, but think of the emotional part of that life. Jesus changed all of that.
- Widow of Nain (Luke 7) – The only son of a widow died. Without family, this woman’s future was bleak. She would have to rely only on herself, while she could. But Jesus raised her son from the dead (that had to create a ruckus!) I can imagine, years later, the son at his mother’s funeral, thanking the Lord for the time they had together. Think of the grateful heart that Mother must of had.
- A Gerasenes demon-possessed man named “Legion” (Mark 5) – A tormented wild man, driven from society, but Jesus freed him spiritually. He wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus had another mission for him. He said, “19Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Look at that chapter and realize how his life changed! He was returned to his right mind!
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Ps 51:10 ESV
- King David (murderer, adulterer/rapist, bad father, Man After My Heart)(1 Samuel 13) – David was an imperfect man. He loved God, but he was inconsistent in his walk with the Lord. He wrote some wonderful passages of the Bible. He was a great leader of Israel, but failed miserably as a father and yet God said that he was a man after my heart. Perhaps this example hits closer to home for many of us. You may be inconsistent, as I am, but God still shows kindness to us and blesses us.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matt.5:8 ESV
If I did react to people the way Jesus would, I wonder how their life might be encouraged. I wonder if my life would be encouraged. By His grace, I want to react as He would. I want to have a pure and clean heart. I want others to see Jesus in me.
Do you want to try it with me?