Why We Like Supermarket Tabloids
Why do so many people take such pleasure in the fact that Brad and Angelina are divorcing or that Jennifer Anniston can’t have a baby? I mean really, why is that so appealing to people? I think it goes to the fact that we like to see other people suffer, especially when we think they deserve it. The difficult thing though is that often they haven’t done anything to us, except be more successful or beautiful. In the book of Jonah we have the story of a reluctant prophet named Jonah who initially runs away from God, is then swallowed by a great fish, and finally preaches a message of repentance to a wicked city called Nineveh. The people there repent and God relents on His plan to destroy the city. Happy ending right? Not for Jonah. In chapter 4 we read this: But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. 2 So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”
Jonah is upset that God didn’t destroy the people. Jonah is upset that God is a gracious and merciful God. Jonah wanted the Ninevites to suffer in the same way that some get a feeling of glee when Brad and Angelina break up. When God was gracious and merciful, Jonah got angry. Do you get angry when God is merciful and gracious to others…even when He doesn’t appear to be gracious toward you? Do you want others to suffer or will you love your neighbor as yourself? The “joy” that some get when others suffer is not a good thing. Rather, we should celebrate the mercy and graciousness of God. Let’s not fault God for being gracious when He chooses to do so.