It is the kindness of the Lord that leads us to repentance.
I’ve heard this phrase numerous times. In devotions, in sermons, in lyrics. I’ve known it to be true and beautiful in my own life, but this week I heard it in a new way that I think may be changing me for good.
I came across an instagram post recently that I found to be really heart-stirring. It was about God’s love versus His judgement. And the writer went on to say that christians have a hard time separating those 2 things. We use phrases like “God loves the sinner, but He hates the sin.” Which I think it’s safe to say that’s true, I don’t think we’re treading on any unknown or controversial territory there. But she went on to say that maybe we don’t need to always link the two. Why can’t we just say “God loves the sinner, period.” That’s a statement about God’s love, and since God IS love, it’s really a statement about Him, and His character. Ok so the other half is about God hating sin, also true. That’s a statement about his judgment. Not himself per-say (ok hear me out here.)
The real deal is how this has been changing me.
I’m sure what I’m going to say next will step on some toes. I think I’m ok with that because I believe that it’s a discussion worth having, and who knows maybe I’m totally wrong and maybe just having this discussion with you will help me to see that. Let’s revisit that “God loves the sinner but hates the sin” statement (I realize this is not an actual sentence from the bible, but I’m also sure that we could find plenty of verses to back up it’s point) What we have here is 2 pieces…Love, and Judgement. I believe as a christian, God has only invited us to play a part in one of those things. He calls us to Love. Deeply. The way that He has loved us. He also tells us to leave the judgment part to him.
It doesn’t mean that judgment isn’t important to Him. And it doesn’t mean that judgment isn’t something that is coming to all of us. We will all come face to face with the lord and face certain judgment. The point I am making is that it is the KINDNESS of the Lord that brings people to repentance. and y’all isn’t that what this life is all about?!?!?! bringing people that don’t know our Lord and Savior into a relationship with him so that his KINDNESS can lead them to repentance? On that same instagram post someone commented that “love is telling someone that they are a sinner so that they don’t burn in hell for eternity.” Although that’s true in a way, I would argue that Love is showing someone the kindness of Jesus and telling them about His deep and everlasting love for them so that they will be moved to repentance. Because y’all, telling someone that they are a sinner, or even getting someone to turn from their sin, will not save them from hell. Falling in love with Jesus, and accepting the gift of His kindness will.
So I think for me to put this to play in my own life, or maybe yours too, is to look at my motives. What is my goal in this life when it comes to people who do not know the love of Jesus? Do I want more for them to repent of their sin, or do I want them to encounter the deep love of Christ? Yes I want both, but I want to do it from a heart of kindness and not judgment. It is that deep love of Christ and His kindness that will lead them to repentance, not judgement from me and my making known their sinfulness that will lead them to the love of Christ.
And though my mind stirs with debate about how to love and live and serve and discipline and do business, at the end of the day the gospel of love is literally all that I have, so that’s literally all that I have to give to people, and that’s literally all that they need.