by Tini Tadeo-Castillo
Practice Radical Love : Go, Repent, Forgive!
Reflection on the message of Ptr Jess Lantin
Jonah has always been a curious character in the Bible for me. He blatantly disobeys God by going the other way, then he gets swallowed by a big fish. Then, he gets vomitted near the place where we was supposed to go, thus making him obey God finally. I admit I felt stunned reading about Jonah's defiance to God's instruction. This guy had the gall to disobey God! I thought, how could someone openly disregard the Lord's order and get away with it? The audacity to flout the directive coming from God himself was quite shocking.
But that sentiment quickly departed me as soon as I realized I was Jonah. Defiant, disobedient and audacious in turning away from what God wants me to do. I had my own Nineveh that God was instructing me to pursue relentlessly with radical love. And I had my own Tarshish where I ran off to because this order from God did not sit well with me. The Ninevites in my life were as unlovable and detestable, thus I find myself often turning the other way. Simply because I could not love them for their seemingly unrepentant heart and what seemed like an unchanged life. Ifind myself revolted with their callous hearts but what I failed to see was my own hardened heart that refuses to love the way God loved me. With such haughtiness and willfulness, God continued to pursue me. God allowed big fishes to swallow me in order to get me to the place He willed for me to be. There was no escaping the Lord! He kept teaching and modeling radical love to me. I came up with a hundred reasons to defy Him, yet He gave me million chances to repent. When I finally understood the lesson and repented, God through His grace gave me the ability to forgive the Ninevites in my life. It wasn't easy as they never showed remorse, some kept insulting me and were unrepentant. But understanding God's heart through it all, I knew I had to forgive. I knew that God extended the same grace and mercy to me so who was I to withhold the same from others?
Today and through the rest of my life, I seek to keep understanding God's heart for me. I ask wisdom that comes from Him so I can open my heart to the lessons He want me to learn, the direction He desires for me to take. I aim to immerse myself in His Word for it is through my knowledge of the Bible that I will be able to learn of His desires and purpose for me. There will be times my feet may refuse to GO but I know that when my heart is surrendered, God through His grace will move my feet. There will be days when it will be a challenge to REPENT but I know that when I bend my knees, God's grace will compel my heart to follow. There will be moments, many moments when I will be tested to FORGIVE. I pray that I will be reminded that God forgave me first. I received His grace thus I cannot withhold the same from others.
To practice radical love means to love like the love God had for Jonah and the Ninevites, to love like the love He showed to me—relentlessly and intentionally pursuing!
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. ~~ Psalm23:6