God is prepared to relent if man returns from his wrong ways.
God does not insist on every letter uttered from His mouth as if to say: "I have said a word and it must be carried out no matter what!" No. God is not like this. How easily does the Holy Bible say that the Lord returned from His hot displeasure: "the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people" (Ex. 32:14). And in the story of the people of Nineveh the Holy Bible repeats the same verse: "God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it" (Jon. 3:10).
The very thing which Jonah considered as below his level, and found it to be against His reverence and dignity, God humbled Himself and performed it. Jonah was vexed and became angry even to death because he had said a word and it was not carried out. And God, the owner of that word, was not displeased like Jonah, but He rejoiced for Nineveh's repentance and salvation.
God is the easiest Person to negotiate with. One tear is enough to dissolve all His threats and punishments, if these tears are true and from the depth of the heart. To feel remorseful and repent, to confess and ask for the absolution is enough for God to forgive all sins.
To deal with God is easy. Many people ask the question: "Can this sin be forgiven by God? Can He forget that I did so and so?" The answer is yes.
Repentance with confession and partaking of the Eucharist forgives all sins and erases all iniquities and a person "become whiter than snow" (Ps.51:7) & (Is. 1:18), and we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other pages. The yoke of God the compassionate is easy as He Himself says: "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matt. 11:30).
He is prepared to relent from His warnings and abandon His threats, contrary to man who is adamant, hard and highly esteems his word.
King Herod, because he had said a word, could not as a king revert it, although he had said it at a time of intoxication and inattentiveness even if his word forced him to behead the Great John! But God, the King of kings, although He had said a righteous word yet He did not disdain to avert it so long as it brought about its effect, as the people's repentance was rightly worthy of that.
It was a lesson God wanted to teach Jonah but Jonah was refusing to benefit from it. Jonah wanted one word; if he said the city will perish it should unquestionably perish.The fourth lesson which we learn from the Book of Jonah is God's long-suffering and endurance.
It Is Possible to Use Punishment
H. H. Pope Shenouda III
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