Living the Christian life is not easy. Sometimes you need to reach out to people who have hurt you. God will direct us to do this for our and their benefit. What is most difficult about it is that many times we don’t want to reach out and at the same time, God doesn’t give us the chance to option out.
However with God, it is a different situation. God, who has every right to punish sinners for their wicked deeds, willfully takes action which will enable him to avoid it. For this to be accomplished, he does not require the sinner to come to him, but rather that he reaches out to the sinner.
Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. (Jonah 1:2)
God is very long suffering towards sinners. He endured the wickedness of the Ninevites and commanded Jonah to convincingly cry out to them for repentance. He also did not give up on Jonah in spite of his disobedience and fleeing to Tarshish.
God is also long suffering towards us. While lost in sin as the Ninevites or disobediently walking as a believer like Jonah, God demonstrates long suffering towards us by not dealing with us in judgment. For the lost, he reaches out in love as a savior, for the disobedient, he reaches out as a loving father.
God’s dealings in the book of Jonah are an excellent example of how he deals with us. As long as we are alive, his love and mercy overrides his righteous anger towards sin. He is always ready to save and forgive.