Leadership Lessons From Jonah – #4
But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the LORD, “Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
Sometimes God makes me mad. It feels wrong to admit, but it’s true. Sometimes God just does things that I don’t like. He sends me somewhere I don’t want to go or He doesn’t answer a prayer I’ve been passionately praying or – heaven forbid – He saves the wrong person.
And because God is, well, God, I think it’s wrong for me to ever feel that way, so I bottle it up and ignore it and try to forget it. And I fail miserably. Because the truth of the matter is, just like any close relationship, God and I step on each other’s toes and tick each other off.
I have to admit to feeling more than a little ashamed and guilty for even thinking like this, but I believe Jesus is more understanding than I know. Scripture tells me that He lived and was tempted and experienced everything I go through. So when I feel this anger, misplaced as it might be, I think He understands that He created me to feel like this in moments like these.
Simple moments of anger aren’t a sin. Holding on to that sin and assigning God blame and building a grudge is.
If I’m going to lead people toward God, I have to reconcile myself to having moments of anger toward my Master and Friend. But I can’t let that anger fester and grow. As a leader, I have to learn this: It might tick me off, but God is always right. There is no room for self-righteousness or rebellion. Whatever He says, whatever He does, wherever He sends me, He is right and I am not. Anger is natural, and often unavoidable, but submission is required, and always necessary.
If you’re leading a church, a group, or an individual, have you intentionally moved past your moments of anger and entered submissive obedience? If you haven’t, you’ll struggle to reach potential and you’ll notice repercussions throughout your ministry.