Many people have kind of a funny view of love. Can you imagine a wife who loves her husband too much to demand that he not abuse her? Too much to point out to him that his behavior could ultimately cause him and the family harm? Too much to expect him to work a regular job in order to at least help provide for the family? Can you imagine a husband loving his wife so much that he’d let her lead him to spiritual condemnation rather than trying lead her to salvation through his own righteous example? Christ’s love for the church is the model for how husbands and wives ought to love one another (Eph. 5:22-33).
What about a parent who loves his child too much to correct him when he does wrong? Too much to discipline him when he is behaving badly? Too much to demand the respect that any parent should receive from his child? Too much to insist that the child conduct himself responsibly? The wise man emphasized that the rod of discipline demonstrates a parent’s love for his child and can even save his soul (Prov. 13:24; 23:13-14). The apostle Paul instructed fathers to bring up their children “in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
A young teenager is shot and killed in some kind of gang confrontation, or perhaps he’s shot by a police officer responding to a reported robbery and reacting to a gun in the teenager’s hand. You see the boy’s mother on TV news, and she wails as she laments the loss of her “baby boy.” She goes on about how “good” a boy he was... But so often the real truth is that he was not a good boy. He was a gang member, and if you could only see, he probably had a considerable police record. He might even have used and sold drugs. He wanted fast money, and he lived a fast life. He was continually in trouble. He was a hard case and had been for a long time.
We’re losing an entire generation of our youth, and we’re placing the blame in all the wrong places. If parents really love their children, they’ll discipline them diligently as they grow up. They’ll love their kids enough to tell them “no,” to teach them why not and to see that they live disciplined, responsible lifestyles.
Love is not just saying, “I love you,” or doing nice things for someone or overlooking their faults and shortcomings. True, complete love at times says, “No!” True love tells the person who is loved that he is wrong when he needs to be told that he is wrong. True love corrects, disciplines, rebukes, not out of animosity but out of love. Real love hates to hurt a loved one’s feelings but will do so if that needs to happen for the loved one to be helped.
Absolute love will tell a loved one that he is in danger of God’s judgment if he is not living faithfully according to God‘s teachings. One thing for which we can be thankful is the fact that God does not love us too much to tell us that we’re wrong. He loves us so much that He has provided us with the entire Bible in order to teach us the way of righteousness and to point out where we’re in error (2 Tim. 3:15-17). He wants us to have the best life here and eternal life hereafter. His pointedly speaks to our need to live obediently to Him (Heb. 5:8-9).
If you are not living as God has instructed in His word that you should live, He loves you too much to ignore that fact. Do whatever is needful for you to become what God wants you to be. Ask yourself this revealing question: “Do you love God enough to obey Him?
Gary L. Hutchens