1 Kings 21:27-29
"So it was, when Ahab heard those words, that he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his body, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning.
28 And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 29 “See how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. In the days of his son I will bring the calamity on his house.”
Most Christians know the wickedness of Ahab, King of Israel. He marries Jezebel, supports the Baal prophets that Elijah opposes on Mt. Carmel, murders Naboth and steals his vineyard.
What most miss or forget is that Ahab repents.
And God listens. God delays the punishment on Ahab for a generation. And He does this knowing that in the next chapter, Ahab will again reject His prophet. Ahab was not devoted to the Lord, yet God tempers His judgment with mercy, when Ahab responds with repentance.
How we need to learn to speak words of judgment that welcome repentance and change! In our flesh, we either avoid the truth, which means we care more about being comfortable than about the person getting out of sin. Or we like to condemn and speak the truth and let the chips fall where they may, which means we care more about hearing ourselves talk than about seeing the other person change.