Thursday, March 05, 2009

tough love

Tough love holds people accountable. Too often I think we Christians sweep sins under the rug that we really ought to confront in love. It's true that "love covers over a multitude of sins." I think there are surely plenty of times when we need to look past sins of others. But there is a time to lovingly confront a brother or sister who is sinning.

We do each other no favor by simply ignoring sins. I do not grow if I'm not called on the carpet for sin, neither does my fellow Christian grow if I don't seek to help them see their fault and need for change.

This is exceedingly hard. And it's better to remain silent and pray, than to come on in a harsh manner. Better to empathize and ask questions than ramrod "the truth" down the sinner's throat. 

But at the same time unless the error of one's ways is not brought to light, there can be no hope of repentance unto life. I think of one sin prevalent among so many of us: the sin of the tongue. We grumble against each other, we talk about so and so, etc. I learned to hate such sins early on, since I saw firsthand the damage they did to others. Though I can fall into the same sin as I take apart those who are so sinning.

Unless we're willing to confess as well as be corrected in the Body of Christ, we really are not living out the community in Jesus that we in Jesus are. Tough love means we are willing to be held accountable, and willing to hold others accountable- before God and before each other.

Much more to say on this. Would you like to add something?


Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

All that I would add is that we probably need to be MORE willing to confess than to correct. A humble heart that sees their own deep need is the one that can minister to the person they must correct.

Good post!

Anonymous said...

i was thinking about Love this morning.

and this is off the subject of your post.

the title, tough love, made me think about it again.

i was wondering about the difference in how humans view Love compared to God. for us to act in the Love of God we are learning through Love that sometimes seems very tough. i do not think that i understand Love at all, but, i have faith in the Goodness of God. God cares very much about our souls.

Kurt said...


I resonate with your words. In the past, i wish i would have not been such a coward in this area. I can think of a couple of situations where i avoided conflict for the sake of the friendship, when in fact that friendship would have probably grown through the needed rebuke. I think that fear of confrontation may be one of the biggest problems in Christian community.

Now, on the other side of things, i think it is dangerous when we apply some of these same methods to those who are not yet believers. Often times, we try to hold nonchristians to our standards and this can come across as judgemental and push them away from God even more (i am not saying that there is never a time to prophetically speak out in the 'secular' realm, but that we need to be careful when we do so).

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks. And great point! I so much agree that we must be first willing to be corrected before we're at all fit to correct anyone.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I think you're making an excellent point. There are depths in love really quite beyond us, but found in God. We need to be open to that, so that hopefully we can know more and more of it in and out from our lives.


Ted M. Gossard said...

Excellent point from you as well! Yes, yes, yes. How can we expect those not in Jesus to live as though they are. What a mistake on our part.

I try to see the common ground I have with the non Christian and try to go from there. With a witness of Jesus and of grace. The law is given just to help us see our need of the Savior, not so we can measure up ourselves.


Maalie said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog about the storks. I understand your point about the mytho-historical. I think the world would be a better place if all Christians took such a flexible attitude. Thanks Ted.

Ted M. Gossard said...


Thanks for your compliment. And I'd encourage others to visit your blog. Beautiful pics and good to read your thoughts from your perspective as a scientist.

I may have gone just a bit overboard in the "default" comment I made on your blog, but from what I read it's at least becoming that way.

I guess it depends on how
people hold to it. Some Christians can agree to disagree on it, while others seem to almost want to make it a test for faith.

Genesis 1-11 is foundational for the faith in regard to creation/fall/redemption going to new creation. So on that I agree with the creationists and Intelligent Design advocates.