Not too long ago I read a devotional by Mark Batterson based on his book, Play the Man. One day the topic was, Tough Love. When you hear the phrase, “Tough Love” what comes to your mind? For me it’s my mom’s tough love. My mother’s approach to tough love was don’t bail them out when they make poor decisions. Rather allow them to learn from their mistakes. I can still remember my mom saying to me, “Don’t call me if you get arrested.” So, when I got detained by the police one night for my stupid behavior, and the officer asked for my mom’s name and phone number, my reply was, “My mom told me not to call her if I ever get arrested.”
Thank God, His definition is different. Jesus defined tough love this way in John 15:13,
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Jesus’ interpretation of tough love includes these three big ideas.
- Tough love is sacrificial love.
- Tough love is unconditional love.
- Tough love is faithful love.
It’s easy to love when everything is going well, but tough love shows up when it’s not going well. I witnessed this tough love last fall, when my wife was rolled away on a hospital bed to have a portion of her body, a living organ, taken out of her and placed in her sister’s body. An organ she could never use for her own health again, but would improve and extend the life of someone else. That’s Tough Love!
I remember once talking with Barbara about this loving gift she was about to give away and I’ll never forget what she said, “Giving away my kidney has given me a who new perceptive on that verse in First Corinthians.” The scripture she was referring to was 1 Corinthians 6:19-20,
“Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.”
Mark Batterson says, “Tough love is not a need-seeking love; it’s a need-meeting love.”
How can you show tough love to the kids and youth you serve every day?