Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Do You Have a Jonah Attitude?

I was recently reading the book of Jonah, and it struck me that this prophet chosen by God had a perpetual bad attitude! There is not one redeeming feature in his life (at least as recorded in these four chapters) that we would hope to emulate. There are so many things to learn from him, however, even if what not to do.

When God first gave the command for Jonah to go to Nineveh, he ran away. This is somewhat reminiscent of a two-year-old, however do we adult women hear God's Word, then "run" from it by denying that is truth for us or that it really means something else in the original language?

One Bible commentator said that Jonah is often perceived as a unselfish hero because he offered to be thrown over board so that the rest of the ship could be saved. The truth may be (and in my thinking, this makes more sense) that he was so determined not to obey God that he'd rather die. After all, he didn't pray on board the ship, "Lord, spare us and I will go to Nineveh!" He didn't pray at all. I've had children stomp their little feet and say "No" in such a way that I think they would have almost died rather than obey my command. God dealt with Jonah's rebellion in a unique way. He did not allow him to die. What's it going to take for Him to get our attention?

When Jonah did decide to go to Nineveh (wouldn't you?), he obeyed reluctantly. As we tell our children, reluctant obedience is the same as disobedience. Are we obeying God outwardly, but reluctant in our hearts?

Finally, after the Ninevites repented because of Jonah's message (God still used the message of a rotten messenger!), we find out why Jonah was so hesitant to obey. He was so prejudiced against the inhabitants of Nineveh, that he wanted them to be destroyed because they were not God's chosen like he was! I would hope that our prejudice doesn't run that deeply, but I have seen homeschooling moms look down on non-homeschoolers and vice versa. I've seen stay-at-home moms ridiculed for their choice and working mothers shamed by stay-at-home moms. This is wrong! We ought not to be prejudiced against anyone for any reason because all of us are created in the image of God.

Jonah sat outside the city and felt sorry for himself because he didn't get his way. I've dealt with this with my children; but I wonder, if we were honest, how often self-pity has crept into our hearts and attitudes as women, wives and mothers?

God was a lot more patient with Jonah than I would have been! However, even His repeated attempts to prompt Jonah to see his sin and repent were futile. When all is said and done, it is still our choice. Will we keep our bad attitudes or get rid of them? I wonder how Jonah's story could have been different if he had Godly attitudes. We will never know, however, we can still edit the story of our own lives. Let's don't allow Jonah attitudes in our hearts and homes!


  1. I hope I don't have a Jonah Attitude. I worked very hard to make sure my children didn't either. At the first sign of grouchiness I sent them to look for a happy face. One day Emily came back and said, I can't find one anywhere. I looked in my closet and my shoes and even behind the toliet! We found on in the oven that day. Now a graduating senior, she has a consistent cheery attitude.

  2. I love that!

    My daughter and I just had a discussion this week about cheerfulness. I think it is very important especially for us wives and moms because we set the attitude for the home.

    Thanks for your comment!