Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? (Romans 2:4).
There are scores of verses in the New Testament that teach about God’s amazing love for individuals. As you read these verses, think about how God’s unquenching love motivates you toward change.
Don’t these gospel truths motivate you toward Christian maturity? Doesn’t this kind of aggressive love inspire you to change? God’s unmerited favor was the critical point Paul was making to the Romans when he began to give them a gospel-centered perspective on how people change in Romans 2:4. In context, Paul had just turned his argument for the need to change from the pagan Gentiles (Romans 1:16-32) to the Jews (Romans 2:1). He told his ethnic brothers the same kindness, forbearance, and patience the Father showed to the Gentiles is also being offered to them.
He did not want them to presume—take for granted—on God’s kindness, knowing it is God’s kindness that leads to change. How repentance happens is essential knowledge as you think about how it works in your child’s life. If your home is not a context of kindness, where your kids are knowing and experiencing your love, don’t be surprised if authentic change does not come to them. I’m talking about the love of God practically displayed and given to your children. The gospel-discerning parent can do this because kindness begets kindness.
A good tree will produce good fruit (Luke 6:44-45). If you are living in and experiencing the daily love of God (root/heart), you will be able to produce the love of God (fruit/actions) toward others. You can only give what you possess. If you do not have genuine affection for your children and if you’re not regularly showing that kindness, you will exasperate them. Loving well takes work. Gospel-work is never easy because gospel-work is always other-centered.
How do you think you score with your children? What do your kids think about when they think about you? Let’s put these questions into two categories: (1) affection and gratitude; (2) correction and displeasure. Here are some practical questions you can ask your children:
Think of these questions as conversation starters that will allow you to engage your children in a tangible way that does not pressure them to change.