4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
Have you had the experience of being judged and condemned by people you thought were friends? Did they talk about you and then it got back to you? It wasn’t even true, but it was growing as more people received the gossip, added to it, and spread it further. In our verse Paul confronted the judges, pointing out that they are guilty of doing the same things they are judging you for and also ignoring the kindness of God by which He calls a sinner to Himself. They are largely throwing a blanket of condemnation over you, covering up the riches of God’s kindness by which He will lead you to the place of repentance where you need to be. These “friends” want to throw you under a bus with no way out, while God is calling your name with kindness, tolerance, and patience, inviting you to repent and be restored.
I was probably in my mid to late thirties before I really noticed this verse. Up until then, I thought it was hard preaching against sin with plenty of accusations and condemnation to go around that would shake sinners loose and bring them to Jesus. People have come to faith in Christ that way, but God is pouring out the riches of His kindness, tolerance, and patience, especially toward the person who has been covered up in guilt and shame.
Have you ever believed in Jesus as your Savior and Lord and found God patiently waiting in kindness for your repentance? If you have, you know how much God loves you and how He accepted you into His family. If you are considering believing in Him, come close and feel His kindness, tolerance, and patience. He’s not angry with you, intolerant toward you, impatient with you, just kind, all because He loves you.
By the way . . . my preaching and writing have taken on a softer tone, one that reflects the God I’m preaching about.