I’m still a little stuck on the “tough love” mentality that is so prevalent in our culture. When a person lashes out, we automatically want to fight back or remove ourselves from an unpleasant situation. When a person does something unexpected or hurtful towards us, we pout and pull away. It’s natural to react negatively to someone who is negative. But I believe in a God who is supernatural, not natural. A God who commands us to turn the other cheek and love with the abundance of the spirit.
I’m not saying stay where there is the possibility of physical abuse, but standing by a friend in need is a testament to our faith.
When someone is under extreme duress be it mental, physical, emotional, whatever, they can be at their most raw state. They are already vulnerable. They are already exposed. They feel defenseless. They are like a cornered animal with nothing to lose. The pain that they are feeling in the moment can feel insurmountable. Is it any wonder that they flare up with fiery words that cut you to the quick? They hurt with a soul ache that can’t be easily bandaged.
Yet what do we do when someone is at their end and has a major meltdown in our presence? What is the standard “go to” fix in situations where our chemically dependent or precarious poised friends lose it and journey into relapse? We walk away. We practice distance for time until they prove they are once again worthy of our love. Just when they need us the most, we turn away in the name of tough love.
I have stated that I once had a friend that told me a hard truth in a hard way and it nearly killed me. When my need was the greatest, my friend chose to walk away in the name of tough love. Had it not been for a gentle soul that invited me to coffee when I really needed a little human touch, I would have killed myself the next day. Tough love seems justified. It seems a reasonable reaction to the hurt that they caused us, but is it what Jesus would have done? He let plenty of people walk away from him, but I don’t recall him turning his back on the people who were broken. Why do we think that is okay?
He loves us, all of us, the sinner, the saint, the sane, and the certifiable. His love can wash away any sin, any slight, any shortcoming.
When we realize that our hurt feelings are often the barrier between reconciliation and rift, we might be able to overlook multitude of sins. As healing starts to occur, apologies might come from our wounded brethren, but we shouldn’t expect it immediately. Restoration occurs one loving decision at a time. It can hurt us, it can be hard, it can be heart wrenching, but healing through graciousness can occur. And when it does it offers a wholeness of spirit that tough love doesn’t grant.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a part-time basket case who wants to be a full time writer.