Raising children and now, interacting with our grandchildren, reminds us of a basic truth of childrearing—reward or punishment must immediately follow the deed. A child’s attention span is short, and the younger he is, the more important the timing. Even a child younger than one can quickly learn what “No-no” means when it is accompanied by consistent motivation.
But are we any better? Peter tells us that when God delays judgment for sin out of longsuffering and patience but we don’t respond, that we “willfully forget” (2 Pet 3:5-10). Paul says that when God forbears yet we do not repent, we are “despising his goodness” (Rom 2:4). It isn’t that we have the attention span of a toddler—we’re just plain stubborn.
Is that any more mature than a toddler? We have all seen children who understand the consequences and take them anyway. We cluck at their lack of common sense, their apparent unwillingness to learn any way but the hard way. We wonder what sort of adults they will become.
But you really don’t have to wonder. You are surrounded by them. Or, are you one of them?
Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Ecclesiastes 8:11.