If you asked ten Christians for the definition of repentance, you’d probably get a dozen different answers. The Greek word for repent is metanoeo, which means, “to change one’s mind.” Sometimes repentance is as dramatic as falling on your face, weeping and confessing. Much of the time, however, repentance is subtle, involving a change in thinking.
“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?” (Romans 2:4) Here we see that one of the things that causes us to repent is God’s kindness. That is, His goodness, His integrity, and His compassion encourage a change in thinking, a renewing of our minds.
Can God’s kindness, exhibited through us, lead others to change their minds? Yes!
“We are Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
“I would have written off Christianity completely years ago, if it weren’t for my brother,” I once heard an unbelieving woman say. Even though she was running from the kingdom of Heaven, Christ’s appeal was being felt through a sibling who demonstrated to her something so different from the rest of the world, that she couldn’t dismiss Him, even though she wanted to.
Practically, how can God’s kindness in you lead others to repentance? Are you a kind person? Do you act toward everyone you meet with compassion and goodness? If you fall short in this, there’s a remedy. We can commit to God our desire to be kind and ask Him for a baptism of love for those around us.
“The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:5)
Too often we despair because we try to do supernatural things in the flesh. It is God’s kindness that leads others to repentance through us, not our own kindness! In the same way, it is His faith that brings about the impossible in and through us; never our own best efforts that we work up.
Have you asked God for a baptism of love for someone specific in your life? Would you like the Holy Spirit to give you an irresistible kindness that attracts and compels others?