“Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2: 3-5
You learn a lot about humanity when you coach kids in sports. I remember this one time when I was working with this young man. He had all of the natural gifts to be an amazing hitter, and yet he struggled in the one area so many of us struggle – his head. He would be so in his head at the plate that he really struggled to hit the ball despite his amazing physical ability. So what did I do? I did the typical parent/coach thing of telling him more things to try, and more things to do, and more ways he needed practice to create “muscle memory.” None of it worked. He didn’t start to make progress until one night after practice he asked me, “Hey do any of the coaches get paid to coach us?” I told him honestly, “No! Everyone here is doing this for free because they love kids and they just want you to grow in your baseball skills.” He responded by saying, “Wow! They’re doing this all for us and they’re not even getting paid.” It didn’t seem like a significant conversation – at least in helping him hit the baseball. But that particular insight was the starting point for him to get out of his head and start improving. He started practicing more because of the kindness of his coaches. He started listening and applying what his coaches were saying a whole lot more because of the kindness of his coaches. When he understood the kindness and graciousness of his coaches investment in him, he began to take off.
Here’s the thing. I grow, and I take off in the areas of my life where I’m still “in my head” when I am aware of God’s kindness toward me and not when I think God’s disappointed with me. God the Father’s kindness leads not only to my repentance but to my real growth.