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Today, we will start with a story taken from the Book of Jonah. It is a book of the Nevi’im (Prophets), in the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible as well as in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. The main character of the story is Jonah, who was an Israelite. Because of his pure and kind heart, God also trusted him and asked him to carry out Hiers work. “Jonah, the people of the great city of Nineveh have been living immorally. I want you to go there and preach to them, and instill goodness into their hearts. They must obey My Words and repent for their sins.” After listening to his assignment from God, Jonah left town. Do you know where he went? Instead of heading to Nineveh, he packed up and set off for the city of Joppa, in the opposite direction of Nineveh. At sea, while Jonah was sound asleep below the deck, a big storm broke out. The ship was rocked back and forth by the storm. The lives of all the passengers were in grave danger. At that moment, Jonah realized that by going against the will of God and running away from his destiny, he had brought on the storm and put others in danger. To everyone’s amazement, as soon as Jonah fell into the sea, the storm ceased. A large whale swam by and swallowed him up whole! Jonah stayed alive in the whale’s belly. Filled with gratitude and regret, Jonah prayed to God for forgiveness for three days and three nights. As God is merciful and loving, He readily forgave Jonah. Soon the big whale had indigestion and spit Jonah out onto dry land. Jonah cleaned himself up, and headed straight for Nineveh. Standing in the middle of the town square, he began preaching. Jonah brought God’s message to the people of Nineveh, and awakened them from their slumber. Many of them examined their own hearts, repented, and mended their past mistakes. Even the king asked Jonah how he could change so that he can set a good example for his people. Under Jonah’s patient guidance, Nineveh was transformed into a peaceful, loving community. With his mission accomplished, Jonah left the city. In spite of all of this, his heart was not at ease. “What troubles you, Jonah?” “My Lord, I trust Your wisdom and judgement. But I can’t forget how my people suffered because of what the people of Nineveh did to us. This is not fair. They should be punished for their wrongdoings.” “Jonah, the people of Nineveh were ignorant of their inner divinity. After heeding My message, didn’t they repent with all sincerity, and change for the better? They are now My people, and your brothers and sisters. I love all My children equally.” We saw that God is always forgiving and loving. What else did we learn? Hmm, we should listen to God’s words, and forgive others like God forgives us. And we should live a virtuous life. If we do something wrong, then we should repent and change for the better.