A Heart of Compassion
Far too often Christians see nonbelievers as the enemy. But let’s remember that we used to be among them. The Bible tells us that when Jesus “saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36 NKJV).
Jesus went on to say, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (verses 37–38 NKJV).
Nonbelievers are not the enemy. Nonbelievers are under the control of the real enemy, who is Satan. The Bible tells us, “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NLT).
Like Jonah, we sometimes don’t even want people to be saved. Jonah was called by God to go and preach in Nineveh, which was the capital of Assyria. The Assyrians were the avowed enemies of the Jewish people, so Jonah didn’t want to go.
If God eradicated the Ninevites and the nation of Assyria from the face of the earth, it would be one less enemy that Israel had to deal with. But when Jonah finally went to preach to them, they repented of their sin.
So Jonah complained to God, saying, “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people” (Jonah 4:2 NLT).
Let’s not have that heart toward unbelievers. Let’s be thankful that God forgives.
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