He will not wait with His arms crossed; He will not put them on spiritual probation; He will not wait to see if they can prove themselves genuine. Instead, He desires their repentance and the restoration of relationship so much that He’s only waiting for the slightest sign of return and He will come the rest of the way.
There are a lot of ways to apologize badly. You can, for example, say “I’m sorry”, but then immediately include the word but. Or you could say the words of an apology with sarcasm and anger in your voice. Or you could delay the apology as long as possible until it becomes necessary. All three are great ways to ruin a perfectly good apology.
Similarly, though, there are great ways to receive an apology badly. You might, for example, communicate something about your reception with your body language – arms crossed, face impassive. Or you might interrupt the person speaking because you don’t think they are contrite or specific enough. Or you might put them on probation after they apologize and ask for forgiveness.
I’ve done both. And I’ve ruined both sides of the apology – the giving and receiving of it. And because I have, it makes me thankful today that God knows how to not ruin an apology in the way He receives it, even when we do our best to ruin it in the way we are giving it. The Book of Malachi is a case study in each.