Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Love is Tough

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." Proverbs 27:6 nkjv

We've all been there.  A friend wrongs you or someone else, does something against God's Word, maybe even abandons your friendship.  What do you do?  Do you sit there silently and pass it off like nothing happened; The world will go on.  Friendship is all about tough love.  If there is no tough love, there is no friendship.  I recently had to show tough love on a friend and found out their view of the friendship wasn't as faithful as mine and lost that friendship.  It hurts, but in the end I have to know I did the right thing.  Tough love is not easy, hence the name.  But for an example of someone who usually perfects the impossible, let me tell you a story. 

There once was this rich young dude who ruled in some land.  When he sees the crowd following around this guy named Jesus, he RUNS up and falls flat to his knees and asks how he can get to heaven.  The guy thinks he's pretty good, confident in the answer he thinks he'll expect.  Jesus lists off some of the commandments written in the Old Testament, leaving off the first part of the great commandment quoted earlier in the gospel.  The dude feels even better now! "I have kept all of those since I was a wee little one!" he blurts out.  But then comes Jesus' right hook if you will.  He shows a perfect demonstration of tough love.  Only Mark records this minute detail,

"Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," He said.  "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me." Mark 10:21 niv

Did you catch that? I bolded it just for you.  He loved him.  He looks into the dude's heart, sees where it lies, where he is struggling, and calls him out with a rather tough commandment to ultimately love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind (Luke 10:27).  The dude becomes sad and walks away, I imagine, with shuffled feet and a lowered head contemplating all he owns and what that statement means.  We ultimately don't know how the man responds.  Sometimes tough love takes time to sink in.  Who knows, maybe after this, the guy walked home to his kingdom and was like, "I'm tired of all this, I'm going to follow Jesus" or maybe it was just a little too hard for him to let go.  After that, it is up to him to respond.  

I can imagine me in that story playing the role of tough lover.  I'd have been like, "WOW, you've kept all those commandments? come be my friend! Oh I know you are still a little distant from me in this large area, but I'll look over it because, hey, your mostly there and I am always looking to not run away my friends"  And that is why I don't play that role.  

I'm reminded of a loving Father who is love, and yet at the same time completely just.  I'm reminded that I mess up all the time in my life.  I forget God.  I don't talk to Him.  I run away from Him.  I go against His commandments.  But the Lord, being the Good Shepherd He is, follows me every time I scurry away, lovingly disciplines me by keeping me over his shoulders, and bonds with me until I am ready to return to the flock.  

"My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in" Proverbs 3:11-12.  

If you have a friendship that needs a little tough love, maybe bitterness is growing after a wrong was done to you, maybe you witnessed a friend do something hurtful or inappropriate to another friend or person, GO and demonstrate your real love for the friend by confronting the situation and showing tough love.  You might lose a "friend".  But if you look over it and pass on like nothing happened, do you really have a true friendship in the first place? True love stands up for integrity, righteousness, forgiveness, etc.  Do you?

No comments:

Post a Comment