Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? — Romans 2:4

Romans 2:4 reveals the path by which we and others come to repentance. It’s all because of God’s kindness.

But too often we assume that the threat of judgment is what leads to repentance. “If only we can show people how bad they are, then they will be sorry,” we think. Or perhaps if we can show them the consequences of their actions—like some negative life outcomes, or the ultimate punishment of going to hell—then they will repent, right?

But the path to repentance is quite different. Instead, God is kind with us. And God waits patiently for us to notice his kindness. And rather than showing us our consequences, God actually holds back our consequences—at least many of the worst ones. Holding back consequences is called forbearance. God forbears with us until we see his kindness.

It is God’s kindness that leads to our repentance. God’s example challenges us to somehow forbear with other people’s unrepentant attitudes. It’s not our place to judge them or bring about their conse­quences. In fact, perhaps, like Christ, we ought to help bear ­others’ consequences. We should show the kindness, ­patience, and forbearance that God has shown us.

Dear Jesus, this world is still full of vices. Help us to endure in forbearing with others, just as you have endured with us. Amen.

Bible References

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.

And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

1 Peter 5

The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.

And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.

13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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