Be consistent. That is the advice for parents. Kids love routine and certainty. When they break the rules, they should experience the consequences, and even those consequences should be consistent. From one day to another, kids should know that if they break that rule, they will face this consequence. Imagine the confusion and resentment when one day a behaviour is overlooked and ignored, but the next day the behaviour earned some yelling at and time in their room!
Parents need to be told to be consistent because people are not naturally consistent. One day something will not bother us, but the next day it will. Any number of reasons could be given for this: the amount and quality of sleep we get, whether we’ve already been irritated and the latest irritant – normally something we could overlook – is the last straw, how busy we are, whether we are being interrupted from something we want to do.
People are changeable. From one day to another we react to our circumstances differently. We treat people differently, or even if we treat them the same our attitude towards them will change.
Imagine if God were like that: unpredictable. Imagine being unsure whether today God will accept you, or whether he would want nothing to do with you. Imagine the terror, the fear, and even the attempts to manipulate God to get on his good side.
But we can rest assured. Our God is not like the ‘gods’ of Ancient Greece or Rome. He is not like us. In him ‘there is no variation or shadow due to change’ (James 1:17). God will not shift from loving us to not loving us. He will not wink at sin and then bang the gavel. We can know our God. He does not change. We are safe.