24th October 2017

Tough Love

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

‘Tough love’ is the perfect example of an oxymoron—the words ‘tough’ and ‘love’ are complete opposites. Yet the term is associated with God, and how he tries and punishes us for sin. In Hebrews 12:11 we read, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” So, the critics of God say ‘aha, here is a prime example of a God who punishes.’ The word ‘discipline’ in this verse is Paideia, meaning education, training up, nurture of children. These are positive and constructive words intended to help and assist. Often the punishment for misdemeanour is consequential—we suffer at our own hands because of our actions.

God’s name is love and the essence of God is goodness. In 1 John 4:8, the Greek word ‘love’ given in this verse is agapaō, which means ‘to love, value, esteem, feel or manifest generous concern for, be faithful towards; to delight in, to set store upon.’ Our Father in heaven delights in us, he takes no pleasure in ‘tough love’, rather he wants us to live. Ezekiel 18:32 says, “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!”

God has many names, none of which contain the word ‘tough’. This phrase is of man. As Christians, we know that man’s ways are not God’s. Read Isaiah 55:8: “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.” Let us be thankful that our Father in heaven sits on his throne of Mercy and delights in us as we follow Him.

Thank you, Father, for your infinite mercy toward us. We pray that when our ways err from yours, the Holy Spirit will correct our feet and direct us back to you always.

Study by Irene Wilson


About the Author:
Irene Wilson is a Deaconess in the Watford Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, where she also serves on the Pastoral Council.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Herts. WD24 7HF

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11AM

Local Congregational Contact:
George Henderson
Phone: 01923-855570
Email: george-sue.henderson@tesco.net

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