Here’s a brief thought: God is sovereign. And God is secure in His own sovereignty. He is so secure in His own sovereignty that He is not afraid of appearing unsovereign. Which is why He gives us free will to choose, knowing that He’s the best choice you and I could ever make.
You could say that His goodness leads us to repentance. Not His heavy-handedness. Not His punishment and penalties. Not the fear of His judgment. No, it is His faithfulness, His holiness, His completeness, His love – all of His goodness – that brings us to repentance.
That’s why He is not into control by rules and regulations – He is into relationship.
I recently read an article about how people should dress when they go to church. The author didn’t say it outright, but the suggestion was that we should honour God in our dress and that the cultural shift towards casual clothing was indicative of a devaluing of God’s greatness in the eyes of the contemporary church. The author gave an illustration of the victorious national volleyball team going to receive honours from the President, suggesting that they would never think of going to the White House in their flip-flops.
But one astute reader responded that the analogy fell short because the article was looking at our relationship with God as one of a formal outsider being invited into the presence of the President. Actually, the reader said, it would be entirely appropriate for the President’s daughter to greet the President in flip-flops.
And that’s who we are: yes, God is a King, but we have been adopted into His family and we are His sons and His daughters!
This is why in the context of our relationships with one another, sometimes we just have to let go and trust God’s sovereignty. We are often tempted to impose strictures and restrictions in the hope that people will behave in a particular way and to make the right decisions. But sometimes, the best thing we can do is to let people experience the goodness of God. And trust that God is infinitely complete in Himself to draw them back to Him.