Tough Love

When I was a child, I spake as a child…. These are words from 1 Corinthins 13, and they speak to the subject of growing in godly love. Godly love is foundational in the Christian life. That same chapter says that no matter what else one might do, without this godly love, it profits him nothing.

Godly love is compassionate, unselfish, and shows mercy to others. At the same time, godly love sometimes takes the road of “tough love.” In this sense, godly love does that which is best for its object, even-though it might be unpleasant for the moment. Hebrews 12 says that the Lord rebukes and chastens every child that he receives, and that if we encounter no chastening, it is clear evidence that we are not his child. Therefore, if we really love someone, we will do what’s best for them, even it’s not the most pleasant. When I was a child and would become sick enough to have to go to the doctor, perhaps with a cold, I would beg my mother to tell the doctor not to give me a shot. It seemed that it never failed, she would say, “Doctor, I think if you could give him a shot, he would get better, sooner.” Looking back, I can see that she wanted me to be in health, more than she wanted me to be in immediate comfort. God is more concerned with our holiness, than our happiness. He is more concerned with our being conformed to His image, than he is our being comfortable in the moment. It’s because He really, really loves us, and He is looking at the big picture of our well-being


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