Sugar or the Stick?
There are many ways to change a person’s behavior. There are positive ways and negative ways. Unfortunately, the negative ways often seem to produce faster results, but I don’t think those results are often the best or the longest lasting. How does God do it? It’s pretty clear that God uses “the stick” at times in the lives of His people. The Bible is full of examples where judgment from God falls on His people. But in the midst of these sentences on judgment in Romans 2 we read this in verse 4: “4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” The phrase, “the goodness of God leads you to repentance” is a very powerful phrase. If a person were to sit down and think about this, to really think about the “goodness of God”, I think it would lead to repentance. Why would we not want to surrender to and follow a God who has provided so much good? Most of the people reading this post are surrounded by material goodness and the supportive love of others…and all that is by God’s grace. His goodness should lead us to repentance. But even if none of those things are true, His good promise of eternal life and the promise of His presence in the midst of suffering and trial should lead us to repentance. The “sugar” of God should be enough. Could I encourage you to take a few minutes today and consider the “goodness” of God in your life and then ask if there are areas where God is calling you to repentance?