disgust-bulletin-imageWhat do you find disgusting? What is it that you find revolting? Maybe we can think of it this way, what do you have contempt for? We find something that we really don’t like, something that we might hate, and we resent everything with it. There are many examples in scripture of people who had disgust or contempt on their hearts. Let’s look at just a couple.

Jonah is a story that many of us are familiar with. It is about a man named Jonah who heard God’s call. He is called to go to Nineveh and share a message which you could say was designed to call the people there to repentance. It was a message of destruction. But Jonah didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to deliver the message.

The story goes that Jonah ran the other way, away from Nineveh. He gets on a ship headed as far away as he could, but then a storm rises up. The ship is tossed around and the people on board begin to pray to their gods, asking for mercy. They began to throw all their items overboard to lighten the load, hoping that would help them survive. Finally, they asked Jonah about why he hadn’t prayed to his God. Jonah informed them that all of this was his fault. That he had been running from God and that they should just throw him overboard and everything would be fine. Well, that’s just what they did. Immediately, a big fish came and swallowed Jonah, and there he lay for three days; in the belly of the fish. Jonah comes to his senses and repents. He tells God that he will finally go to Nineveh. The fish spits him up on the shore and Jonah makes his way to the town. What’s more disgusting than that. Three days in the belly of a fish, slimy, stinky, and just plain gross. No shower, he just walks right into town. Can you imagine the smell? Disgust, absolutely!

Why does Jonah feel so strongly about Nineveh? Why would he not want to give God’s message to them? Because he didn’t like the people in the town of Nineveh. You see, he knew that if this message made it to town, they would want to be saved. He also knew that God would forgive them, and he didn’t want that. Maybe if he ran away, the message wouldn’t make it to the town and God would destroy them. That would be good for Jonah, right?

Jonah felt disgust and contempt for the people, which kept him from doing the will of God. That makes me wonder; are there people you feel disgust or contempt for? People that you would rather never see again, ones that hurt you in the past? Do you think God is calling you to care for them? To help them? Maybe just to love them? Do you think your disgust could get in the way of loving them the way God is calling you to love them? After all, we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves.

How about another one. Do you remember the story of Joseph? Well, maybe not Joseph himself, but what about his brothers? Here is their younger brother, Joseph. Their father doesn’t hide the fact that he thinks Joseph is pretty special. So much so, that he has a special coat made for him, you know, the one of many colors. None of the other brothers got a special coat, let alone the favor of the father. Strike one! The disgust and contempt begin to form.

Then Joseph pulls his brothers together because he has some exciting news. He’s been having some pretty awesome dreams and he wants to tell them all about the dreams. There’s one little problem. The dreams are about all of the brothers bowing down and worshiping Joseph. Strike two! The disgust and contempt are in full effect now. The brothers plan and scheme a way to get back at him, maybe they’ll kill him. They wanted to, but Reuben talked the brothers into just throwing him in a pit. He wanted to come back later and save his brother but didn’t get the chance. While Reuben was away, the rest of the brothers decided to sell Joseph into slavery. They completed the deal by lying to their father about the whereabouts of Joseph. The disgust and contempt the brothers had for Joseph clouded their judgement to do good and honorable things. It got in the way of loving their brother the way they should. The story does have a happy ending as Joseph makes it all the way to be the right hand of the Pharaoh. And while he was there, he was able to save his family during a great famine. But it could have been worse, had the brothers carried out their first plan.

Disgust and contempt are not good things to have in the middle of any relationship, especially your family. I wonder if there are people in your family that you need to reach out to in order to tell them that you love them, maybe that you are sorry or that you forgive them.

Where is there disgust or contempt in your life? How is God calling you to get rid of them today?