“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”
– Proverbs 13:24
Though we sing about it, read about it, teach about it, and idealize it, a good definition of love often eludes us. To simplify it, I like to say that Christian love is caring for human good. In short, demonstrating the love of God means showing concern for people in ways that are simple and practical, yet also profound. That said, when it comes to the “nitty gritty” of what love looks like and how we express it, there’s nothing quite as effective as examining the “via negativa,” or what it is not. To that end, for the next few days, I want to talk about four things that love isn’t in an effort to demonstrate what it really is. First of all, love is not enabling. Unfortunately, many people believe that loving someone means making them happy or giving them what they want, but this is only a recipe for disaster. I think of the mother who allows her 35-year-old son to live with her and buys him weed because she needs him to need her. Not only is her behavior unhealthy, it contradicts the Biblical standard of love. In fact, Scripture says that those who don’t discipline their children hate them. Though these are strong words, they speak to the importance of making choices that are best for the other person in a relationship, regardless of how uncomfortable or upset those choices make us.
My friend, nothing on earth is as unbreakable as God’s love. Because He lavished His unconditional affection on you, you have been empowered to show His tenacious, courageous, and unwavering devotion to others. This means that you don’t spend your life seeking to make people happy or coercing them into loving you in return for your good behavior. Rather, walking as a true disciple requires you to embrace a tough brand of endearment that isn’t entirely comfortable and may not always keep you in the good graces of those you care about. Divine love comes wrapped in Godly truth, and as you conduct yourself with both honesty and grace, your Savior’s very best will come to you!
Jesus, teach me how to love like you do, and help me to let go of my need to enable those I care about.
Is there someone you love whom you enable? Is there anyone who enables you?
If you’re unable to attend your local church or need some additional weekly inspiration, be sure to tune into Hour of Power every Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. PT on TBN or watch online at hourofpower.org/episode.