Kindness, not fear, leads to repentance.


“If God uses kindness to lead people to repentance, why do we resort to harshness & fear to ‘help’ friends repent?” Phil Drysdale


One of my favourite verses is Romans 2:4 – “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”

We would do well to remember this truth on a daily basis. That it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. Repentance, and let’s remember that true repentance (from the Greek “metanoia”) means “to change ones mind”, comes about from a revelation of God’s goodness.

So if God’s goodness leads people to repentance why is it that so much of the church today is trying to cause people to repent by scaring them? There is an idea that scaring people out of Hell is more powerful than inviting them into Heaven. Is Hell really more scary than Heaven is attractive?

The truth is that God does not want to use fear tactics or manipulation to cause you to change the way you think, rather He wants to show you His love for you, His goodness, His grace and His kindness. Seeing this side of God can only lead to a dramatic response.

Being terrified of punishment may cause you to change your mind but it’s never going to fully renew your mind because you will be fixated on a God who wanted to punish you. God doesn’t want to be surrounded in Heaven for eternity by people who chose Heaven as an alternate to Hell. That’s not much of a statement. That’s like choosing McDonald’s as an alternate to a poop sandwich. It doesn’t say anything about McDonald’s really! Rather what if we started revealing just how good God is! He’s like a Michelin star steakhouse! We choose Him because He is irresistible and everything else is a ridiculous alternative in light of Him and His presence.

Prayer for the day

Father, thank you so much for your goodness. I pray that you would show me your goodness to a whole new level today and that I would be transformed by the renewal of my mind to your goodness. Forgive me for when I’ve made the gospel about the bad news rather than the good news and let me trust in the irresistible nature of who you are to lead others to you today!

This devotional is an excerpt of my book “Renew Your Mind in 30 Days”, a collection of my 30 most popular devotionals re-written and added to. Designed to help you experience transformation in your life as you renew your mind. Head to the book page and start reading your copy in just 5 minutes!

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  1. This is very true. The attractiveness of God’s love is beyond any other alternative. It’s the kind of love that grows with time and never ends. The kind of love that is literally impossible to find anywhere in this universe. Thank you again Phil for this message. It’s much needed. I pray God may reveal to you even more about His love, His grace and His plans for us.

    • So true, thank you! Whatever I have tried in life, In his love God always found a way to penetrate my heart and to stay soft for his voice. Isn’t it amazing that we live with that kind of love and can spread it in kindness? He is making sure nothing returns empty; I just have to give without expectations.

      • That’s awesome Werner – I’m sure that would be most people’s testimony of the changes in their lives… they came primarily through His goodness, not fear.

  2. ‘God doesn’t want to be surrounded in Heaven for eternity by people who chose Heaven as an alternate to Hell.’

    • Haha – thanks Tom. You’d think that would be obvious to us as a church but apparently not so much :)

  3. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death…

    What is godly sorrow? Does 2 cor 7:10 contradict Romans 2:4?

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