Many people assume that showing love to someone is tolerating someone’s negative actions. Those actions could be self-damaging or they could be hurting someone else. Either way, love is seen as allowing that person to do whatever it is they please. Some think that it is love and some just don’t want to rock the boat. The Bible makes it pretty clear that allowing someone to continue doing something that is hurting themselves or someone else is not love.
Now, there are many times in the Bible where Jesus had to give tough love to people. Jesus was not afraid to rock the boat. Jesus gave tough love to his disciples all the time. He even gave it to people that came to him seeking answers. If you remember the Woman at the well. He called her out on her sin, but he also gave her the answer she needed. John 4:17-18 says:
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
Jesus always had a point every time he corrected someone. He didn't do it to condemn or embarrass anyone.
Tough love is just another term for rebuking someone with the intent to help the person. I have been on the receiving end of tough love and it did not feel good at all. I tend to freak out at first because it hurts to be told you are doing something wrong. Later on, I think about what the other person said and realize that they are right. In Proverbs 12:1 it says:
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”
One thing I consider when getting correction from someone is are they doing it to be mean, or are they doing it to help me. Most of the time they are doing it to help me and I get over my hurt feelings.
On the flip side, giving tough love is not any easier. Confronting someone who is hurting themselves or someone else is one of the hardest things to do. Whenever I have to confront someone I always make sure that they know that I am saying what I am saying to help them, not to hurt them. I also tell them that I am not judging them, but that I do not want to see them get hurt.
Sad to say I have lost many friends because I tried to help them. Some people just don’t want to hear it. Sometimes people get hurt like I sometimes do when confronted about something I am doing wrong. Showing tough love is like holding a mirror to someone’s face. Sometimes they do not like what they see.
You cannot change anyone, you can only show them the right path and hope they take it. If they chose not to, that is ok, because you did the right thing. It is part of being a good friend or relative. Proverbs 27:17 says:
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
A good friend will be honest with you and tell you when you are out of line. If you have a friend and you have never been in an argument with them, it is time to find another friend, because you have a friend that is afraid to call you out when you are wrong. You do not want that kind of friend in your life. Even though it hurts I am glad that I have friends that will correct me when I am wrong.