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.

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