Study from God’s Word… 2nd Corinthians, Chapters 1 – 9 … Passage for Reflection: 2nd Corinthians 2: 4 … NIV For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.
My Journal for Today: “Tough love” is not an oxymoron. It is tough to dole out a rebuke, confronting someone we love for a self-indulgence or maybe even something which is life threatening. With our little kiddies, in order to protect them or shape their character, sometimes we have to use a wooden spoon on a little delicate hand which has willfully gone where it’s been warned repeatedly not to go. As a parent I know the personal meaning of the old parental admonition, “This hurts me more than it does you.” But we exercise love that is tough because it’s the right thing to do, knowing that to avoid it could cause even more pain in the future for our loved one and for us.
But when the kid becomes an adult, such confrontations are even tougher; but doling out tough love is absolutely necessary; and it hurts … both the one who exhorts or intervenes in love and the one who is on the receiving end of whatever intervention has become necessary. In drug rehabilitation, we’ve heard of a loving family our a group of friends taking the drug-involved loved one aside with a show of force, demanding that the “drugee” do what is necessary to change. Yes, the one being confronted with such tough love must choose to do what it takes to change, but those who loved him/her must be there to forgive, confront, encourage, and patiently wait for the change to take place.
And we know that the toughest love of all was exercised on behalf of all of us fallen children, unredeemable sinners, who were redeemed because a loving Father was willing to let His only Son become a human and, in humiliation, to die on a cross so that we could be lovingly redeemed. As Dr. Smith wrote in his last sentence of today’s devotional entry: "Sometimes hurting the one we love is truly the greatest love."
And so I leave you to grapple with Dr. Smith’s tough-love question for his readers: "If I can sometimes dish out tough love when necessary, how do I take tough love when I’m on the receiving end?" Tough question about tough love!
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I pray that I can dole it out and take it in so that I can be reshaped in Your image. Amen