This series focuses on praying for our Native American brothers and sisters, particularly those living on reservations.
[These devotions come from Jesus Culture's "Faith for Your City" Devotion Series with some alterations]
Need to start at the beginning? Read Week 1 here.
"How much more, then, should I have pity on Nineveh, that great city. After all, it has more than 120,000 innocent children in it,
as well as many animals!" (Jonah 4:11)
Jonah's story is a great example of how we can become judgemental towards an entire group of people.
God sent Jonah to Nineveh to deliver a warning so that they would turn away from their sin and come under God's love for them. He ran away originally with the understanding that God is "always patient, always kind, and always ready to change your mind and not punish. (Jonah 4:2) But he failed to see how that applied to the Ninevites.
Eventually, Jonah reluctantly delivered God's message to Israel's enemies; they repented; God did not destroy the city. And yet, Jonah still didn't get it. He knew his God was a forgiving God but couldn't believe the Ninevites were forgivable.
For centuries, Native Americans were cast in a bad light. They were heathens from the get go and had to be civilized. And like it happens so often, the false stereotypes stuck. Those who have lived, or spent any amount of time, near a reservation know that there is a slew of derogatory names still thrown at Native Americans.
In this post-Standing Rock, connected world, we are confronted with voices that yell from all sides. At times, it can be hard to separate out the truth from the lies, and that is what Satan wants. He wants us confused and conflicted.
But God wants us to show compassion and mercy.
Less than 5% of Native Americans know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, so since reservations have so many non-believers, should God wipe them out?
No! How much more should we be concerned? After all, there are 5 million people, many of those children, who do not know the hope that comes from Jesus' death and resurrection.
God wants to see hope and healing in Native communities. He wants to see whole reservations, villages, reserves, and homelands impacted with His love and mercy. Let's partner with God and trust that "mercy triumphs over judgment." (James 2:13)
Jesus, give me a tender heart of compassion for [your reservation/city] and all the people who live there. Help me to love them and show them your love. Soften the hearts of those who still harbor hatred for Native peoples, so that we may all work together to the glory of your Kingdom.