In reading Jonah 4, some of us may find it silly that Jonah got angry with God for pardoning the people of Nineveh. God had sent Jonah to this city to warn the people to turn form their wicked ways. After initially running from that call (and we all know how that one turned out), Jonah eventually went and spoke the Word of God to the people of Nineveh. And they listened! And because they did so, God turned his wrath away from them and spared the city. Upon hearing this, Jonah was upset that the people of Nineveh were going to "get away" with their sin and the city wouldn't be destroyed, even though that was the entire point of Jonah going to Nineveh!
We do the same. We get upset with God when He blesses people that we don't think deserve to be blessed, or when he tells us to show mercy on those that we don't think deserve our kindness. The whole point of Jonah going to Nineveh was to warn the people of the consequence of their sin. If on hearing of these consequences, they changed their lives, wouldn't that be a good thing?
And this isn't just a lesson from the Old Testament. In Matthew 20: 1-16, Jesus gives one of his many allusions to the kingdom of heaven. In this particular one, he talks of it being like a landowner who hired laborers at different times throughout the day, but paid them all the same wage at the end of the day. The workers who had worked for a full day were upset that they were given the same compensation as those who had been hired right before the end of the day. But the landowner reminded them that because others get what they do not deserve does not take away from us getting what we have been promised. The grace and mercy of God doesn't have a quantity, and it matters not whether we are the first or the last to receive it. Grace is grace, and mercy is mercy. Period.
Let's go back to Jonah's story. Using a plant, God then pointed out to Jonah that he had a right to show mercy to people that He had created, He had a right to be concerned about them. As Creator, it is expected for God to care about his creations, isn't it? Similarly, God shows us mercy, because he loves us. After all, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us! (Rom 5:8). Lamentations 3:22-23 talks about how God's mercies (his compassions) are new every morning. That means that God will never run out of love for us! Let's not begrudge others this same mercy given to us by God's grace. And let's make our passion for Him new every morning too, in appreciation of this free gift.
Be blessed and shine graciously!