Do You Feel Anger Towards Someone?

And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.
— Mark 11:25-26

I wish I didn’t have to say this, but I want to be honest and make a point. People have done me wrong and then something bad would happen to them and I would think, “They deserve what they’re getting.” Back in 1987 I had a couple of men who did both me and the church harm. They left the church and took a couple of families with them and then one bad thing after another happened to all the families who left and I'm ashamed to say that my first thought after hearing of their pitfalls, "Ha, you deserved that."

I really felt justified in my feelings until I was preparing a sermon on the story of Jonah. Most of us learned this story in Sunday School. Remember how God commanded Jonah to preach to the people of Nineveh, but Jonah, hating Nineveh, tried to sail to Tarshish instead. God then sent a great fish to swallow him and deliver him to the city. Jonah went through the city preaching and the whole city got saved. Remember Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh because they were to Jonah and Israel what Isis is to us. What I want you to notice though is what’s written in the very last chapter of the book after the revival. I want to share this with you in easy English, so you don’t miss anything.

But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live."

But the LORD replied, "Have you any right to be angry?" Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered.

When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live." But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?" "I do," he said. "I am angry enough to die." But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?" - Jonah 4:1-11

I have been guilty (and I’m sure many of you have too) of giving Jonah a lot of grief for not following God's commands, but the truth is we aren't much different. In my story, just like Jonah, I had let my pride and my past feelings get in the way of my duty to God.

God does not allow us to carry old grudges, and if we think becoming a Christian means Christ will beat up on our enemies, we will be sorely disappointed. Instead, Jesus has commanded us to live in harmony with other Christians and forgive those who have sinned against us. After all, that's what Christ did for us. The Lord loves our enemies as much as He loves us. It may be hard for us to understand that kind of love, but God loved us when we were His enemies! God so loved the world!

If there is anyone in your life you feel anger towards, take some time to pray about it, and seek peace with God.