THE PATRON SAINT OF HIDDEN SMILES

“But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry” (Jonah 4:1).

It’s difficult imagining a prophet of God angered by the repentant response of his audience. That a people like the Ninevites could be the beneficiaries of God’s grace, compassion, and lovingkindness was more than Jonah’s hatred could bear. In fact, he would prefer death than to life in such a world (v.3). Enjoying the belief that the Ninevites would be the recipients of God’s wrath, only to see them now spared, Jonah has been exposed as someone who takes delight in the misfortune of others. Of this we can all be guilty. Whether it’s the internal smile that finds hidden satisfaction in the divorce of the Facebook friend’s marriage that was always posted forth as a storybook relationship; or the pleasure experienced going to the class reunion and seeing the senior year beauty queen eighty pounds overweight, we must guard our hearts against the prejudices that lead to hidden smiles.

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