“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 KJV)
Despise the riches of His goodness? And His tolerance? And His great patience? Why? What in the world could make someone despise these glorious attributes? Because they are easily mistaken for weaknesses! Goodness, tolerance, and patience are at best treated as excesses that a very rich person can afford to give away, but they do not seem to last forever. Sooner or later the excess “gravy” runs out and you have to learn to get back to business. In the quest for a tighter discipline that will establish a strong leader we so easily forget that goodness, tolerance, and patience are foundation objects; not just the overflow at the top.
God actually uses these attributes in building the foundation of His people. If that was not enough, He uses objects like humility, forgiveness, and flat out unmerited favor too! Not just towards us, but as things that we need to learn to redistribute. As we give goodness, we realize just how little of it that we have. As we show tolerance, we realize just how intolerant we are. As we try to be humble, we trip on our own pride. There is very little that will make you realize how weak you are as developing the working faith that comes naturally to a child. You begin to see with an increasing clarity that the strength you have is that which comes from God. As Matt Maher sings, He really does use the weak to lead the strong! God’s goodness is designed to lead me to repentance. Some may not think themselves so weak as to need to repent. It appears that those who have enough sense to are actually the strong. Grace is not merely sufficient for me; it is what is required to remake me.
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to flesh should glory in his presence.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29 KJV)