Tough Love

Tough love hurts.

I decided to let a child suffer the consequences of a decision that he made this morning in a fit of emotion. I knew that the decision was not a good one, and would cause him some discomfort later on in the day.

But I did not fight and resist him. I questioned his decision, but did not argue. I did not give in, I did not rescue, I did not let emotion rule.

And later on, I cried.

Because sometimes tough love hurts.

I wonder if God sometimes looks upon the decisions we make and recognizes the hurt that it will cause later. But God has to let us make that mistake, that poor judgement call in the moment. He has given us free will.

Not only that, but I wonder how often God bears the brunt of our anger when things don’t work out. Not realizing that we are eating the fruit of our own choices from earlier, we rant and rave at the One who stands quietly and takes our rage. We whine, we plead, we complain and we yell.

“How could you have let that happen….?” we rage. “Why didn’t you…?”  “Why is my life like this?!?”

But sometimes we just have to realize that it isn’t God at fault… it’s us. It comes down to poor choices in a moment of emotion. And the consequences are ours to bear.

When I reflect upon the incidents of this morning, I recognize that perhaps God feels like I did: I wasn’t angry at the choice that the child made, but I was sad, knowing the consequences. How many times do we think that God is probably angry at us for a decision we made, when in reality, his heart is grieved and moved with compassion towards us? Maybe God weeps for us as He watches us suffer the consequences of our poor decisions?

For isn’t God the One who loves us more than we can fathom, the One whose love is higher than the heavens are above the earth?

I love how parenting can sometimes open my eyes to a different reality of how my Father might view me.

I couldn’t wait to hug my little guy when he got home from school, knowing he had had a rough day because of his decision. In the same way, I believe that God cannot wait to give us a hug after we have messed up too.

  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge …                                           Eph.3:18

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