3 But do you think this, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things, and yet do the same yourself, that you will escape God’s judgment and elude His verdict? 4 Or do you have no regard for the wealth of His kindness and tolerance and patience [in withholding His wrath]? Are you [actually] unaware or ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness leads you to repentance [that is, to change your inner self, your old way of thinking—seek His purpose for your life]? AMP
Picture a scenario where a friend approaches you with a business plan. Part of it includes selling counterfeited goods but marketing them as the cream of the crop in the industry. Like the save, sanctified and spirit filed person that you are, as Sarah Jakes Roberts would put it, you tell them that it’s a horrible idea and proceed to quote scripture and the law of the land.
Being the hard-headed person, they are your friend doesn’t listen. You, however, continue to be in their life, showing them kindness, offering corrections and just treating them like a decent human being despite their shortcoming.
A few years after their initial prosperity, things fall apart.
Now picture this same friend going onto social media and saying how, when they had everything, they had friends, but now everyone has deserted them. You think they are in pain and you give them space. You come back into their life when you think they are at least in their right mind, only for them to say, “Why didn’t you stop me when I came to you with the plan?”
I don’t know about you, but that right there would leave me speechless. So much so that I’d block this person’s number and forget about them because that’s how many words I don’t have.
But the Good Lord is working in me.
The typical “what would Jesus do?” question applies here. The answer is you wouldn’t say anything back, at least anything that would cause harm. Sure enough, when the pity party is over, they would roll back round, apology filled and ready to make amends. It is your ability to remain loving that would leave the door open for them to come back and restore the friendship.
And that’s what this verse in Romans is about.
We need to stop seeing God as someone who sends out Holy Backhands for every mistake we make. That’s not His job. The only possible backhand He’s done is when He smacked Lucifer so hard that he fell out of the heaven and bowling-balled a third of the angels out as well.
We also tragically walk around with the narrative that God also issues out backhands to your enemies. No… not quite. The wages of sin is death. So anything that comes your “enemy’s” way is simply a harvest of something they sowed. So if I were you, I’d be mindful of how I go round saying “God smite mine enemies!” Because what’s that line in the Lord’s Prayer? “Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us?” Child, what wrath is this you’re introducing to yourself though?!
So next time you see that chick who’s been sleeping around or the guy who cons people “prosper,” don’t think God is asleep. He’s extending the same grace to them as He did you while you were still in sin.
Be kind to everyone, won’t you?