Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tough Love? - 1 Corinthians 13:6

February holds the holiday of Valentine's Day, and I thought that a blog on love might be appropriate for this month. God is love- His Son, His justice, everything about God is love.
1 Corinthians 13 is sometimes called the love chapter, "Love is patient, love is kind..." Some of us have read it or heard it many times, so what's new about it?
One day this month, I was reading from a pocket New Testament, and this verse nestled in the chapter jumped out at me: "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth." 1 Corinthians 13:6. Wow, I thought, what a verse! It seemed to fly up at me because of the life experience that I've had with my family (as if that's much). Many times in our life, especially Mom and Dad, have heard the comment, or variations of, "If you really loved me, you would accept the way I am." Hmmm... nicely twisted words. Not much room around that. I bet those of you who are reading this blog have also heard those words. So, to love that person, we need to accept and condone their ungodly lifestyle, or their active, rebellious sin? That is the way many people want to be "loved." Love me, but leave my life to myself.
This is where 1 Cor. 13:6 in the "love" chapter comes into play. Tough love? I know the first question that comes to my mind is (applying this verse), I've got to reject, or leave alone, the one I love? This question has bugged our family for years. Is that the way a Christian should act? Shouldn't we be the extension of Christ's love, grace, and forgiveness? Are you just twisting this verse to fit your conclusion on the situation? For one thing, I don't think I will ever know the answer to the hurt so many of us experience, or think we may be handing out to the one we love. What those who are on the opposite side of this love don't realize is that tough love hurts the lover as much or more than the receiver of tough love.
This is what I've come down to on this "love," whether it be right or wrong, I will continue to muse, observe, and ponder. Love that person, don't love the sin; accept that person, don't accept that sin. It is so hard to separate the sin from the sinner sometimes. (Don't read this wrong, we are all sinners.) Our family has had to operate in this way for some time with our daughter and sister. It has lead to prolonged periods of limited communication. We still love our sister very much, but we don't love or accept her lifestyle. It is so hard. We often wonder whether we are right or wrong. This may not be where you are at in your faith life, and we still go back and forth on the issue. But this I do know: God's standard stands. Even more so, God's Love and Grace stands, Jesus. Without Him none of us would stand. He experienced some tough love too, wouldn't you say?

Joy in the Journey,

Ben

"May my words be taken in the Light of His Word." BG

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