Say to them, As I live, says the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11; see also Ezekiel 18:31-32)
St. Romanos the Melodist offers us Christian insight into Ezekiel‘s prophetic words:
“Now I shall make all known to you and I shall prophesy to you, All-Holy, unblemished.
For fall and resurrection,
your Son is set, the life and the redemption and the resurrection of all.
The Lord has not appeared so that some may fall while others rise,
for the All-Compassionate does not rejoice at the fall of mortals.
Nor has he now come to make those who stand fall,
but rather he is here hastening to raise those who have fallen,
ransoming from death what he himself fashioned,
the only lover of mankind.
(On the Life of Christ: Kontakia, p. 31)
And from the desert fathers we find a very motherly and earthy understanding of the Ezekiel prophecy:
A brother asked Abba Macarius, “My father, I have fallen into a transgression.” Abba Macarius said to him, “It is written, my son, ‘I do not desire the death of a sinner as much as his repentance and his life’ [see 1 Tim 2:4 and 2 Pet 3:9].
Repent, therefore, my son; you will see him who is gentle, our Lord Jesus Christ, his face full of joy towards you, like a nursing mother whose face is full of joy for her child when he raises his hands and his face up to her. Even if he is full of all kinds of uncleanness, she does not turn away from that bad smell and excrement but takes pity on him and lifts him up and presses him to her breast, her face full of joy, and everything about him is sweet to her. If, then, this created person has pity for her child, how much greater is the love of the creator, our Lord Jesus Christ, for us! (St. Macarius The Spirit Bearer: Coptic Texts Relating To Saint Macarius, Kindle Location 269-279)
The unconditional love of a mother for her child is a most exquisite image of God’s love for us. God is not repulsed by the filth of our sins but desires to embrace us with God’s eternal love if only we will allow ourselves to be so embraced.