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Tough Love

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

Merriam Webster defines, “tough love,” as an affectionate concern expressed in a disciplinary manner to promote responsible behavior. We use the term, “tough love,” because it is hard to love at times. As the family of God, or any family for that matter, we are going to have conflict. At times it is easy to love, and other times we must work at it. T.F. Hodge said, “Tough love may be tough to give, but it is a necessity of life and assurance of positive growth.” The Lord chastises those He LOVES (Hebrews 12:6). Today everyone is offended by something. Jesus warned us that offenses WILL come (Luke 17:1-2). The enemy loves to use offense to create division. Offense has an ugly colored cloak called Pride. Pride covers the offense, so it never gets dealt with and then causes your heart to become hardened (Proverbs 28:14). If someone offends you be honest with them, you may find that you have misjudged a situation. Do not give the devil ammunition! (Ephesians 4:26-27). Offenses can occur through edification which is required for growth, but we must edify one another in love (1 Thessalonians 5:11, James 1:19, Colossians 3:13). Parents discipline their children because they want to teach them and challenge them to become good stewards of what God has given them – that is love.

Sometimes people are just difficult to love! Has God put someone like this in your path? Jesus will often use people or situations to teach us how to love as He loves (Proverbs 17:17). The bible says that if you say you love God but hate your brother, you are a liar (1 John 4:20). Love is more than a fleeting emotion, it is a promise (Hebrews 13:5). In 1988 Ford Motor Co. spent millions on the slogan: “Built to Last” and reserved “Built Ford Tough.” Jesus Love is a firm foundation, built to last. His love is tough as nails! He died to reserve a place for us with Him for eternity. This walk is not for the faint of heart, but Jesus is the strength of our heart (Psalm 73:26). We need unity in the body of Christ, and the only way that happens is if we learn to love one another. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).

“You can love a person dear to you with a human love, but an enemy can only be loved with divine love.” –  Leo Tolstoy

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