I’m thinking that perhaps in my rush for results, I’m trying to teach repentance when I need to teach a few other things first.
Yesterday while the girls were napping and David resting, I spent quite a bit of time reading Psalm 51. And then this morning I was reading Romans 2 and stopped to consider verse 4.
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
It seems understood that in order to understand what this goodness is all about, a person must understand who he has offended, and he must understand that there is a penalty for the offense.Then he can understand the goodness of God in his forgiveness.
I am wondering whether there’s a disconnect between the offense and repentance because David doesn’t yet understand God’s right to judge us for our sins. Last week David asked some questions about “bad guys,” a fairly recent interest (the gun-toting guards at our air force base seem to have started the conversation). David wanted to know if there were any bad guys in New Mexico. At the time, I asked him what he thought made someone a bad guy. You can see where I was going with that one, I bet. I let the subject drop, though, soon after.
Now I think bringing up this topic again with David might be a good opportunity to talk about God’s laws, and how God is a righteous judge who must punish sin. I might ask him what he thinks should happen to someone who breaks the New Mexico law, or more simply, a family “law.” I’m curious to see whether he recognizes a sense of justice in these cases.
Before he can understand the need for repentance and God’s gracious provision for it, he needs to understand that he has offended God. I think he gets this, although Bethel doesn’t yet. What he needs to know next is that there is a penalty for sin.
I’m still thinking on this topic, and still praying for wisdom and guidance. I’m also praying that God will teach me about repentance in my own life.