Feeling bitter about blessings. It makes no sense!

Three weeks ago I wrote about forgiveness.

Then two weeks ago I wrote about guilt.

A week ago I wrote about running from God.

This week I’m having another ‘dear diary’ moment in which I’m going to talk about bitterness towards our merciful God.

Gosh, I can’t even believe I just typed that out because it makes no sense!

This week, as I have the past three weeks, I’m following along with #SheReadsTruth to record my thoughts on a specific passage of the Bible. This week continues to be a challenging and convicting topic for me to digest and to write about, but in a great way, and for that I am thankful for the #SheSharesTruth linkup (even though I am being made more and more aware of my sin each and every Friday)!



Let’s jump into reflections from Jonah 3 & 4.

Ohhhh Jonah. He’s a character I can just relate to over and over again. Like me, he’s such a flawed human being and suffers from a whole range of emotions when it comes to his relationship with God.

Last week in chapters 1 & 2, I wrote about running away from God and His will in my life.

Jonah tried running away from God, but God pursued him passionately, and Jonah eventually came around and realized his need for God.

In Jonah 3, Jonah finally goes to Nineveh, in accordance with what God wanted him to do in the first place. This is how it always works isn’t it? I like to think I’m in control of my own life and I insist on doing things my own way, and then God patiently but passionately pursues me and eventually I realize His plan is better than my own and I submit to His commands. Sigh. I’m always doing things the hard way. Well, similarly, the leaders of Nineveh recognized the distance they put between their community and God, and they immediately changed their behaviors. I mean, they had some pretty convincing signs, God told them directly through Jonah what their fate would be if they continued in their evil ways!

I would like to say that Jonah had a surprising reaction to the forgiveness that God granted Nineveh, but really, I can see myself acting in the exact same way.

Which is not a good thing!

In Jonah 4:2, Jonah says:

“I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.”

And you would think Jonah meant that as a compliment, but he really didn’t! Jonah is basically saying, ‘I shouldn’t have wasted my time on this city! I knew you were just going to forgive them anyways, no matter how much wrong they did to you. Why do I even bother trying to be good when you’re just going to go around being gracious towards people who don’t deserve it?!’

Maybe I just interpreted it that way since that’s what I would have been thinking.

There are multiple examples in the Bible of forgiveness, compassion, and graciousness being extended where it doesn’t appear to be deserved, and this is one of them. 

In my own life, I’m a very control-freak, Type-A person, and I’m constantly trying to act in accordance with what I think is ‘right’. I’ll admit that I don’t have the highest tolerance for people who do not act in a way that I think is ‘right’. I try not to be judgemental, but I assume that those people will face some sort of consequences for their actions.

For instance, when my brother and I were younger, I would always try to be ‘better’ than him so that I would get rewarded. But if we were both rewarded (by my parents) equally, I would get mad, because what was my incentive to be good if they were just going to treat us both the same?! It almost felt like a waste of my time to be good.

I wish I could say those feelings ended with my adolescence, but I’ll admit that I still have pangs of these bitter feelings. If a coworker is promoted ahead of me even though I feel like I do better (or the same) work, I get bitter. When friends or family members get in a fight, make up, and then continue on in their relationship closer than ever, I can’t help but think, ‘But I didn’t do anything wrong! Shouldn’t you like me more? Do I get no friendship cred?!’ If I work harder than someone else, I want the recognition, darnit, I earned it!

This isn’t how God works though. We don’t have to earn his compassion. He loves us when we’re obedient, he loves us when we’re not. He loves us despite all of our flaws and imperfections – and we are all imperfect. 

The truth is, we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to others. Jonah shouldn’t be angry about God’s graciousness that saved Nineveh, he should have been thankful that God’s graciousness also saved him! 

Similarly, we should not worry about what God is doing in other people’s lives. Some people will appear to get more blessings than we do, and we may not think they ‘deserve’ them, but other people’s blessings do not take away from our own! Instead, we should live in obedience to God because our love for Him would have us live no other way. If we focus on ourselves and our own actions and are constantly thankful for God’s mercy and grace in our own lives, we have no time and/or energy to be bitter about the blessings that God has bestowed upon others.

And who wants to waste time being bitter anyways?!


I can’t be the only one who catches themselves being jealous and/or bitter about the good things in other people’s lives that I feel are undeserved… right?!



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