“I called to the Lord out of my distress, and he answered me;” Jonah 2: 2
Love your enemies said Jesus. And God said it before him, maybe not in as many words, but in his directions. He told Jonah to go to Ninevah. The city was filled with people who posed a threat to Israel and Jonah didn’t seem to want anything to do with them. He understood them to be a bloodthirsty lot who left monuments to the torture and slaughter of those who opposed them. It would seem that Israelites had good reason to fear the Ninevites so Jonah had made up his mind not to go to Nineveh, he would not warn them of any destruction that might be upon them. Jonah experiences some trials in the middle of his detour from Ninevah and as he prays to the Lord the response comes that he is called to go to Ninevah and proclaim the message of the Lord. When he does this, the king of Ninevah calls for his people to turn from their evil ways and the hearts of the Ninevites are changed, they come to understand what it means that God is merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
I wonder where you find yourself in this Jonah story? Is it similar to Jonah, not wanting to go and make nice with your “enemy”? Is it as one of the Ninevites who will stand opposed to anyone who has views that differ from our own? What proclamation of God’s word will turn our hearts to love our enemies and to repent of our own evil?