When we go through a time of great personal failure it can lead us to repentance. We respond to our failure knowing that we truly are at fault and need to come before God with a broken and contrite heart.
Is this failure provoked change the most powerful kind of repentance? Until recently I would have said “yes” to this question. Today I would say there is a more powerful kind of experience that produces an even deeper kind of repentance.
This more powerful kind of repentance is produced by experiencing the kindness and longsuffering of God toward us. When we become aware of His tremendous goodness toward us instead of our own tremendous failure toward Him, we experience the deepest kind of repentance.
The shift in my thinking came about as I heard a pastor calling his church to repentance in his Sunday sermon. He called them to come and repent not because they had failed. He called them to come and repent because God is so good to them and so longsuffering toward them. The altar of the church filled with people repenting because they had seen the goodness of God.
I was profundly touched by the wisdom of this pastor. He has it right!
If we would see others repent we can hope they fail or we can hope they see God’s goodness and kindness.
God uses His goodness and kindness to reach us. God does not seek our failure. He seeks our good.
Do we secretly hope others will fail so they will repent or do we hope they will see God’s goodness and longsuffering before they fail?
“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4