Yesterday, I picked up my kids from day care and headed home. One of my sons was not having a particularly good day and we had a bit of a confrontation on our drive. See, sometimes he doesn’t want to home the normal way, but instead asks to go alternative routes. We had to get home, so I told him, “No. Not today, buddy.” Let’s just say he wasn’t happy. He screamed and I asked him to be quiet. He then proceeded to throw things at me. So, I knew we crossed a line. I told him that when we got home, he was going to time out. He got super quiet and humble at this point. And he remained good all the way home.
When we pulled up to the house, I had a decision to make. I could be “consistent” and enforce the punishment. I could be forgetful and just let it slide. Or I could be like God and show mercy and forgiveness. It is this last one that I chose, and here’s why.
I wrote a blog post on divine sovereignty in light of passages where it says God “changed his mind.” And sitting there in my truck, this passage came to my mind:
Micah of Moresheth, who prophesied during the days of King Hezekiah of Judah, said to all the people of Judah: ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height.’ Did King Hezekiah of Judah and all Judah actually put him to death? Did he not fear the Lord and entreat the favor of the Lord, and did not the Lord change his mind about the disaster that he had pronounced against them? But we are about to bring great disaster on ourselves!”Jeremiah 26:18–19 (NRSV).
Here’s what hit me: God made an absolute statement regarding the punishment of Israel. Their punishment would come much like I told my son time out was coming. Then, Hezekiah “feared the Lord” and “entreated favor.” He was humble and submitted to God much like my son feared time out.
And God “changed his mind.”
Was this God being inconsistent? No. In fact, he was being incredibly consistent. It is the eternal nature of God be loving and compassionate. And he “resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
And so, to be like my God, I turned to my son, looked him in the eye, and said, “Buddy, because you stopped throwing things and calmed down, I forgive you and won’t send you to time out.” He went from scared and sad, to joyful and happy. And we both were excited to see this result.