Monday, January 23, 2017

Tough Love

Our Sunday School lesson this past Sunday was on tough love.
Ordinarily, when one hears the phrase "tough love" we tend to think of discipline that is borne out of love -- a parent teaching a child a hard lesson in order to keep them from a greater harm or hardship.

That's pretty much where the lesson went. It was from the Old Testament Book of Judges where Israel cycles through many cases of falling away from God and God bringing about discipline that brought them back to him.

When I think of "tough love," I tend to think of God's love for us in a little bit different way.
His love is tough love -- not because of the discipline that teaches us necessary lessons, but because He keeps loving us even when we are unlovable!
That's some serious love!

And it is a love that we have a very difficult time with.
We tend to love people that love us back. In fact, reciprocal love is often a condition for our continued love. It's not that way with God.
He loves us (period)

Two of my favorite quotes are found in one of Philip Yancy's books. (I think What's So Amazing About Grace, but I'm not certain.)
The first goes something like this -- "There is nothing we can do that would make God love us less."
The second is similar and very eye opening -- "There is nothing we can do that would make God love us more."

Wow! We don't have to serve Him, honor Him, worship Him -- in order to get Him to love us!
He already loves us as much as He possibly can!
We serve Him, honor Him, worship Him -- in order to demonstrate our love for Him.

I take great comfort in both of these two statements. I'm glad that my mistakes don't cause God to love me less -- because I tend to make a lot of mistakes. It would be cool if the good things made God love me more, but the truth is, if weighed out side by side -- well, I'm not sure I want to go there.

If I were to make an honest assessment of myself, I suppose I would have to say I'm probably not a very lovable person. I think that for a time I might be able to curry favor with a few people that are close to me. They may even make some allowances for my many faults. But in the end, we humans tend to base our love for others on how they love us in return.
We tend to love people more when they are good to us and less when that are not.
(sigh) Like I said, I'm not very lovable.
Maybe, that is why love is so hard.

I'm glad that God doesn't work that way, and I'm trying to learn from the lessons that He teaches me -- but love is tough, and I am a slow learner.

It appears that God has decided that He loves me and nothing I do is going to change His mind.
Maybe that's how we should love -- once you make a decision to love someone, let nothing change your mind. You have decided that you love them (period)

By the way, God has decided that He loves you, too!
He sent His Son Jesus to die for you!

John <><

1 comment:

eViL pOp TaRt said...

John, that is a profound idea! I reflect on how I can be sometimes unloveable. I'm glad God puts up with us.