Sometimes as Christians God calls us to do hard things. One of the hardest things God has called me to do is a thing called “Tough Love.”
The definition of tough love is love or concern that is expressed in a strict way, especially to prompt someone to behave responsibly. Tough love is said to be an expression used to refer to someone taking a stern action or decision toward another, but is intended to truly and sincerely help that person who is cared for and sincerely loved by the “tough lover!” This action can be viewed by an outsider, who is untouched directly by the circumstances, as harsh and unfair.
The more I understand and study Scripture and apply it to life the more I believe that, at some point in everyone’s life, God will call everyone to administer “tough love!”
God is the definition of love. His discipline of us, which may seem harsh, is His deepest love; it is “tough love.” It is used to mature us, to complete us, to refine us and make us more like HIM. The deeper I go with the Lord, the more I seek Him, the more I pray to become “comfortable being uncomfortable” because I know now that “lack of comfort” is how I grow and being called to give “tough love” can be very uncomfortable.
Because often when we show “tough love,” the outsider watching or the one who is loved that is receiving the “tough love” either rejects, becomes angry or doesn’t understand.
What can happen if you are the one who shows tough love?
You can feel as if you are on an “island,” a deserted one all by yourself, especially if you have the temptation to be a “people pleaser” instead of a “God pleaser!” Take heart…that “island” will take you to a place where God will show you…that if “He is all you have, HE IS ALL YOU NEED!”
Often, if you are the one called by God to give “tough love,” you can even become an outcast to other Christians…even sometimes people in ministry. Beware…….people in ministry are men and women too….humans who sin just like people who are not in ministry. I am one of them. NEVER put anyone in ministry above God and His personal and specific voice in your life. Only God knows hearts, NOT MAN. NO man truly knows the heart of another man. God calls all men and women to keep God FIRST IN THEIR LIVES!
If you have ever had to show tough love and find yourself on that “island”…Praise God!!! He is ALL YOU NEED.
Study the life of Jesus! God allowed Him, as fully God and fully man, to go to the CROSS…the loneliest of all “ISLANDS.”
Painful, humiliated and falsely accused!
But take heart…God was there!!!!
I love to read the Psalms. The prayers there are powerful. If you are on an island and called by God to show the hardest kind of love, ”tough love,” read and pray through Psalm 27 today:
“The Lord is my light an my salvation—-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—-of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies that and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be CONFIDENT.
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord. Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper; Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.
Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations. I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Remember, “tough love” is the hardest of all loves to show…and the most misunderstood by man/woman!
May the Lord encourage you in your time on that island, alone with God. May He bring healing and restoration where “tough love” is needed.