Romans 2:4-6″Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance and long suffering, not knowing the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and pentint heart, you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God,”
I so clearly can remember trying to teach my children not to run up and down the the stairs. I tried explaining to them that it was dangerous, ( I had learned this the hard way, and fell putting two of my teeth, right through my chin. OUCH!) I yelled at them, and many times after they ran up them I would make them go back and walk up and down them a few times. Despite all my attempts, I often would hear them quickly running up and down the stairs. The reason for me trying to stop them was out of love, I wanted to protect them. I knew that falling down those stairs could cause so much damage, broken bones, cuts and brain injury. I worked in brain injury rehab and had seen the long term effects of brain injuries. Every time I would hear their feet running up those stairs, I would experience frustration at them not listening, and hold my breath hoping not to also hear them screaming and crying as they had fallen. A few times after they had fallen ( ok, maybe it was more then a few, my daughter has a special skill of falling up stairs) as any good parent, I would run and comfort them. I could not change the consequences of the fall, but I could make them feel better and try to help them to heal. What they did not understand was every time that they hurt and were suffering, so was I. They likely ran up those stairs focused on getting whatever toy they wanted to take and head back to their friends with. If my words of “Don’t run up and down the stairs” even entered their mind, they may have been hoping to get away with it. That I would not see or hear them. If they did get caught they always said sorry, but it did not seem like it was long before they did it again. In their world, I was the one who gave them so many of the good things that they loved. I took them to the places they wanted to go and bought them the items they wanted. I spent time with them, stuck up for them when they were being treated unfairly and showered them with my love. Despite my being good to them they just would not consistently listen to me , about those stairs.
When we look at the scripture above we can see God’s character. He is good to us. He loves to shower us with so many good things. His goodness can be seen in that He is kind, despite our past sins. He is good in His forbearance in the sin we will commit today. His goodness is seen in His long suffering of knowing our future sins. Our sin and the consequences of that sin cause God to suffer, because He loves us. He does not want any of His children to learn the hard way. His desire is for us to listen and obey. I wanted my children to listen and obey to avoid them being hurt and needing to suffer the consequences.
If you knew ahead of time all the wrongs that a person was going to do against you, that they would slander you, rob you, repeatedly cause you to suffer, that you would be the one they ran to for help after they did not listen to your warnings how would you treat them? Would you change how you interacted with them. Would you give up on them? God knows all of this and still He loves us. He still keeps on trying to help us. He still keeps giving to us. When we acknowledge this we should be repenting. Our desire should be to honor, listen and obey. So many people see God’s forbearance and long suffering the wrong way. They will sin, be suffering the consequences of that sin, ask God for help, get help and then do the same thing over again. They may start to think that God’s ok with the sin because He does not respond with punishment. They change their conscience and develop a hard heart. They do not see how they are hurting God. Soon they are so far from hearing the Holy Spirit that they just do whatever pleases them, all of their fleshly desires.
Yet God keeps on trying to reach them. He sends them messages through His goodness and through other people to show them and cause them to repent. Similar to how I tried many different ways to stop my children from running up and down those stairs. I did not want my children to fall down, to suffer something like a life long brain injury. God does not want us to suffer in eternity of falling into Hell.
I wonder if God is at all like me, and is saying WHY WON”T THEY JUST LISTEN!!