Loving My Enemies (Jonah, Part 13)

Written by Julie

On September 15, 2022

The story ends abruptly with a question left unanswered, and we are invited to answer it ourselves. Will we see the beauty of the God who shows mercy to sinners? Will we recognize the extravagant grace that God has shown to us? Will we extend compassion to His image bearers in need of the Good Shepherd? … 

Joanna Kimbrel, “A Merciful Lesson from a Merciful God,” Mercy in the Storm: a study on the book of Jonah

… See, God’s questions here to Jonah is really a question for us: are we okay with God loving our enemies? See, this book, this story, this historical account is meant to hold a mirror to you and to me, revealing the Jonah in all of us … Who’s your enemy? Are you okay not just with God loving them but with God loving them through you?

Jonah by Blue Ridge Community Church, 25:21-25:40, 26:53-27:02 {I also recommend listening to what’s in between these two time frames.} (all capitalization, punctuation, underlining added)

As I considered the last quote, I thought of several people.

But I wouldn’t call them enemies necessarily, I rationalize. We don’t fight and hate and only want the worst for each other.

But Google–God?–whacks me in the head (and heart) with the origin of the word enemy. It comes from the Latin inimicus, from in- meaning “not” and amicus meaning “friend.”

An enemy is simply not a friend.

And oh, I could still try to justify it, could try to explain why I don’t consider them my friends but also don’t consider them my enemies.

But I’m a bit too conscience-pricked to try very hard.

And besides, no matter what I’d classify these people as, the questions remain.

Am I okay with God loving them? Am I okay with Him loving them tenderly, showing them shockingly extravagant grace, blessing them, allowing them to continue normal and happy lives? Am I okay with Him loving them with a fierce and jealous love, one that will break them and put them through the refining fire, one that will let (make?) them hit rock bottom so that perchance they will come to recognize He is the Rock they must build on? Am I okay with Him loving them with a mixture of both ways?

Am I okay with God loving them through me? I may be okay with God loving them – “do whatever You wish, Lord. . . but leave me out of it.” I talked about being scared to love but how I’ll love anyway, and now that I think about it, I’ve had even more, erm, opportunities to love. Yes, love in general, to a variety of people, but also to those specific people that came to my mind. And I’m sure there’ll be more opportunities. So–am I okay with God loving them through me? Will I reach out with love and compassion to these people made in His image, these people loved by Him, these people in need?

Will I see the beauty of grace and mercy, the beauty of the God who so lavishly gives them? Will I realize and confess that I, too, am a sinner that has already and will continue to receive so much grace? Will I join the Festival of Grace, celebrating the grace given to others and the grace given to me? Will I place us on the same level, realize we are the same in many ways?

I recently read a blog post called “Baptism || When Jesus Calls Me to Die,” and the questions were repeated in my head again. Will I love? Will I die to the fear, the anger, the “I don’t feel like it,” the questions, the “they don’t deserve it,” the comfort zone, etc., and simply love? Will I walk through these waters of anger, confusion, hurt, and awkwardness on the dry ground of forgiveness, healing, and surrender?

Will I stay?
Tanner Olson, known as writtentospeak on Instagram, shared a poem on World Suicide Prevention Day about staying for __ and because of __. The words hit me in a little different way, though.
Will I stay in the conversation, the group, the place even if I’m bored or I’m feeling left out or I just want to go home or whatever other reasons there are?
Will I stay, because they matter and I matter?
Will I stay by their side, physically and metaphorically, no matter what they’re going through or what I’m going through?
Will I stay and point them to Jesus?
Will I stay and be the hands and feet and voice and love of Jesus?
Will I stay even though they’re not repentant (yet)?
Will I stay even when it’s awkward?
Will I stay in spite of the unrest and anger and ache that wants to rise up in me?
Will I stay fully present, not zoning out, not distracting myself, not detaching?
Will I stay for as long as Jesus asks me to stay?


i know today is hard.
and tomorrow might be too.
but move closer to see the beauty found
within all that has come to be.
let the light shine through all the
cracks, scars, and questions.
and stay.

Tanner Olson, @writtentospeak on Instagram, “stay”

And oh, none of it’s easy. What’s worthwhile usually isn’t.


But it’s so hard.
But then again, isn’t everything worthwhile difficult?
The life of a Christian requires the proverbial (and often literal) blood, sweat, and tears.
So maybe I just need to suck it up and buckle down and work.
Maybe I need to try, and make some effort, and choose

me, Thanksgiving All November

I’m not saying it’s all up to me. I need Jesus desperately. I can’t truly love without Him; that’s why the question is “Am I okay with God loving them through me?”

That leads to more questions. (I almost titled this post “Questions.” 😄) Am I seeking Jesus? Am I cultivating my relationship with Him? Am I surrendering to Him, following His leading, doing as He says? And so on.

Jonah faced a lot of these questions, whether he acknowledged and considered them or not. We know his answers/responses (at least up until God’s “you pitied the gourd; shouldn’t I spare Nineveh?” speech), and I don’t think any of us want to respond the way he did.

So will we learn the lessons we’ve seen in the book/life of Jonah? Will we take what we have learned and put it into practice?

I pray you–I–will.

P.S. This is the last Jonah post in the series! Psalm 23 is the next series planned; again, it will simply be published like my normal blog posts (one per week) but may be interrupted by non-series posts. Thank you all for following along!

Previous posts in this series:
Called to Leave (Jonah, Part 1)
Hate and Fear (Jonah, Part 2)
Fleeing the Father (Jonah, Part 3)
Wake Up, Sleeper (Jonah, Part 4)
Punishment and Grace (Jonah, Part 5)
Stereotypes (Jonah, Part 6)
Interrupted (Jonah, Part 7)
Seeing Jesus in Jonah (Jonah, Part 8)
Call Our Souls to Remember (Jonah, Part 9)
A Message from the Lord (Jonah, Part 10)
The Festival of Grace (Jonah, Part 11)
Scared to Love (Jonah, Part 12)

		
Julie

Julie

Hi, I'm Julie, a 17-year-old lover of books, music, and Jesus. I'm a senior in high school (Abeka Academy) and have been blogging for three years. I also co-publish a digital magazine called Priceless geared toward teen girls. My desire is to use my words to glorify my Saviour and to encourage you in your walk with God. I'd love to hear from you!

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Brenna
Brenna
20 days ago

I liked this one!! Def hit different than the others. It had some challenging thoughts. And I definitely enjoyed the series!! Thanks so much for being open and using your talents for God’s glory!