Jonah had warned Nineveh that God was going to destroy the city. Much to Jonah's disappointment, they had repented. So God's mind was changed. Jonah was not happy. He demanded of God, "Why did you forgive the Ninevites? The reason I had fled from the assignment to come to Nineveh was that I had thought of you as a merciful and compassionate God. Then when you forced me to come here anyway, I expected you to demonstrate justice not mercy. I give up."
Jonah waited to see what would happen next. God provided him with a shrub to give him shade to make him more comfortable while he waited. Then God sent a worm to destroy the shrub and followed that by sending a dry hot wind. Jonah was so angry that God had killed the shrub that he said he was ready to die.
God asked him, "Why are you so sympathetic to the shrub when you were so unforgiving of the people of Nineveh? Can't you see why I would pity those people?
Can we? Which is more important--justice or mercy? Can justice include mercy?
(influenced by Kelly J. Murphy in Women's Bible Commentary)