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DISCIPLINE AND MERCY – written by Tanis Harms
TOPIC:        God’s discipline and great mercy
SCRIPTURE:    Jonah, 1 Tim.1:12-16, Heb.12:4-11, Rev.3:19
Style:        drama/conversation:  Jonah tells his story
.             to his nieces and nephews
Cast:         JONAH, CHILDREN (as many as you want,
.             divide up the lines as you see fit)
Set & Props:  maybe a chair or bench for Jonah


(JONAH enters and a bunch of CHILDREN rush toward him.)

ALL    Uncle Jonah, Uncle Jonah!  Tell us a story,
.      please?  Please tell us a story.

JONAH  You want a story?  Which story?

C 1    The one about when you got to be in the fish.

JONAH  How many times do I have to tell you this story?
.      That was not a very fun time for me.

C 1    It was like being in a time-out, right?

JONAH  Yes, but so much worse.

C 2    Please tell us that story.

JONAH  (sitting down)  All right.  Everyone sit down.
.      (waits for all children to sit down)
.      Okay, so God had asked me to go to Nineveh.

C 3    Why?

JONAH  The people in that city were very wicked,
.      and God wanted me to give them a warning.
.      But, I didn’t want to go.

C 3    Why?

JONAH  Because I didn’t think those people were worth
.      the effort.  I thought they did not even deserve
.      a warning.
.                                                      2
C 1    So this would be like if I was picking
.      on my sister all the time, and Dad wanted
.      to send me a warning-

JONAH  No.  Nothing like that.  It would be like if
.      an orphan down the street was stealing
.      your things, and your father wanted you
.      to give them a warning that something bad
.      was going to happen to them.

C 2    Worse than being an orphan?

JONAH  The orphan is being very bad.

C 3    Well, then the orphan should be punished.

JONAH  Exactly.  The city of Nineveh needed to be
.      punished.  But God wanted me to go and warn them.
.      I didn’t want to, so I tried running away.
.      I took the first boat out of here.

C 1    Mom and Dad always seem to know where I hide.
.      So you thought you could hide from God
.      on the boat?

JONAH  I did.  Silly me!  So God sent a big storm;
.      and the men on the boat found out
.      that it was storming because I was disobeying God
.      and trying to run away from Him.
.      And the only way to calm the storm
.      was to throw me overboard - into the sea.

C 2    That’s when God gave you a time-out in the fish,
.      right?

JONAH  Yes, it was a 3-day time-out.  A very smelly,
.      a very dark, cold, hungry and uncomfortable
.      3-day time-out.

C 3    What did you do?

JONAH  What else could I do?  I prayed!  I prayed
.      that God would forgive me, and I thanked Him.

C 1    You thanked God?  For what?

JONAH  Well, when you disobey your parents,            3
.      why do you think your parents punish you?

C 1    Because they love us, and want us to be good,
.      and all get along.

JONAH  Exactly!  So God was punishing me, because
.      I am His son, and He loves me.

C 2    Did you need a bath after the fish threw you up?

(The CHILDREN giggle.)

JONAH  Yes-yes – it’s all very funny NOW.  Anyway,
.      God told me again to go to the city of Nineveh
.      and warn them.  And I did.  And they were very
.      sorry for their wickedness and repented.
.      And God forgave them – which made me very angry.

C 3    Why?

JONAH  Because I didn’t think they deserved forgiveness.

C 3    Why?

JONAH  Okay, it’s like if that wicked orphan,
.      who had been stealing all of your stuff,
.      would ask your dad for forgiveness and
.      say that he wanted to be part of your family.
.      And your dad would just forgive the orphan
.      and adopt him into your family.

C 1    Oh, that’s so nice for the orphan.

JONAH  But the orphan was bad.

C 1    I’m sometimes bad.  (to C3)  So are you.

C 3    I try not to be bad.

C 2    I’m sometimes bad too.

JONAH  Yes-yes, exactly.  So, here I had disobeyed God,
.      and He disciplined me.  But this entire city
.      had been very bad, and when they repented,
.      God - forgave them.

C 2    But God forgave YOU - when YOU repented.        4

(JONAH looks at the KIDS and scratches his head.)

JONAH  You are very wise and understanding children.
.      I had not been so wise or so understanding.
.      I decided to complain to God.

C 3    Oh-oh.  So you had another time-out?

JONAH  Kind of.  Yes!  I went into the wilderness
.      to sulk.  I sat under a nice tree,
.      hoping that God would still destroy the city.

C 3    Why?

JONAH  Because – ah, that’s not the point.
.      I was just angry that God forgave
.      the wicked people when they repented.
.      God didn’t even punish them.  They deserved
.      to be punished, but they were saved.

C 1    So God had to punish you again?

JONAH  It was more of an uncomfortable object lesson...
.      Yeah, God had to punish me to change
.      my attitude – again.

C 2    And what was this lesson?

JONAH  Well, you know, that nice tree that I was
.      sitting under - to keep me cool from the hot sun –
.      God allowed THAT tree to die, and I was
.      very sad that it was gone.  It was no longer
.      keeping me cool.

C 1    I don’t get it.

JONAH  I did not even create the tree,
.      but when it died, I was very sad.
.      God had created the people of Nineveh,
.      and so if they would have died,
.      God would have been very, VERY sad.
.      Because God loved them, God showed mercy to them
.      when they turned from their wicked ways
.      to love and serve God.

C 1    This sounds like you didn’t learn from          5
.      your first lesson.

C 2    Yeah, so what have we learned
.      from all of this?

C 3    That we should obey God!

C 1    And when we do something bad,
.      we need to repent!

C 2    Uncle Jonah, next time you disobey God,
.      you need to repent and change your behavior
.      a lot sooner.

JONAH  Yes-yes, that is very good advice.
.      Thank you.