Harsh Love

June 17, 2021 at 7:38 PM 1 comment

Audio for this article is here: SermonAudio.com/StudyGrowKnow

Before we get going with our main topic, here are some important links:

A Parent’s Love Includes Healthy Discipline
I marvel at how so many in the world only see Jesus as “loving” and nothing more and sadly, this often includes professing Christians. Their definition of love is usually off.

Any parent knows that loving their children has many sides to it. There are times when parents dote on their children because they love them. They marvel at each new step and every surprising development as the child grows and matures. There are also times when a parent’s anger is directed toward children, also out of love. For instance, when the child becomes recalcitrant or misbehaves. Good parents understand that children learn best when healthy parameters are set. Without those parameters, the child will wind up doing absolutely stupid and even harmful things. Parents are there to help guide the child into making the correct choices.

Parents who discipline their children firmly – and I’m not talking about beating the snot out of them – by using firm language, boundaries, times outs and even an occasional “swat” on the backside prove to their children that they are loved, because the parent is not allowing the child to do whatever they want to do. Most children fail to understand the ramifications of many of their decisions until it’s too late.

I recall dutifully following my daughter around while she learned to walk, to ensure that she did not harm herself. I didn’t interfere with her walking. I simply walked closely behind her to keep her from falling into the end of a table or something else. At the time, she may not even have been aware that her daddy was shadowing her. She probably felt like she had freedom to move about the home by herself and I’m sure it was a great feeling, judging by her smile at the time. A parent who could not care less about whether or not the child harms itself is not fit to be a parent.

Love May Include Frustration
Certainly loving someone at times may translate to being upset with them and the decisions they make. Imagine a husband who cheats on his wife and his wife finds out. Would she react in anything but anger, sorrow and disappointment? Wouldn’t she have the right to do so? She would react that way because of her love for her husband and the commitment they both made when they married.

People like to quote the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, which speaks of love. But love also has a disciplinary side to it, which is rarely mentioned by these same people.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love of course is everything mentioned above. But that is not all that love is and the reason Paul was addressing the Corinthian believers like that was due to the fact that those folks were harboring grudges and taking each other to court over legal matters and this was done in front of non-believers! It set a very poor example to unbelievers. Paul was urging that they simply let things go and be “wronged” instead of taking things to court.

Can Love Be Harsh?
Sometimes, due to love and commitment, we do things that seem harsh at the time, but if it is borne of a desire to not offend God, then it is loving, whether it is received that way or not. That is really the zeal of the LORD that He produces within us as we commit ourselves in growing measure to not offending Him (fear of the Lord).

During Jesus’ earthly life, He clearly loved people and provided for them as often as He could. We are all well aware (or should be), of His many miracles that fed thousands, healed them and even raised from the dead. These were done mainly to prove His deity, but they were also done because of His love for them as the Great Shepherd.

Zeal Can Produce Righteous Anger
On some occasions though, Jesus became angry, showing a harsh side of His love. His ire was often directed at the religious leaders of His day because they kept people from God because of their many traditions and additional burdens they placed on the average Israelite. They did this because it made them appear important and even better than the average Israelite as far as external righteousness was concerned.

Jesus hated their self-righteousness and let them know in no uncertain terms. It’s important to remember He did so out of love for them because God wants no one to perish, no not one (2 Peter 3:9). Their response? They sought to kill Him.

It is the exact same reason God sent judgment after judgment upon Israel when they went astray. He was loving them and trying to call them back to Him by making their lives miserable because they had wandered away.

In another example, Jesus cleansed the Temple because it had been turned into what He called a “den of thieves” in Matthew 21:13 and Mark 11:15-17 (see also Jeremiah 7:11). Jesus was angry and actually fashioned a whip. He then overturned the money-changer tables, chasing them out of the Temple area. Not very “loving,” was it?

Actually, it was very loving. First, Jesus loved God the Father and as I’ve pointed out before, according to the prophet Isaiah 11:2-3, Jesus delighted to fear the LORD (the Father). He delighted in not offending God the Father. This created a proper zeal for everything Jesus did, including cleansing the Temple where God had placed His Name.

After Jesus had cleansed the Temple, He immediately began healing and ministering to those who came to Him; the blind and lame. Because He healed them of their problems, the chief priests and scribes came to Him indignant. How dare He heal people! The people were so appreciative and excited that they began praising Jesus for what He had done.

Hosanna to the Son of David! (Matthew 21:15b)

This praise really addresses Jesus as Messiah, the One who was to come with salvation. The chief priests and scribes would have none of it and pointedly asked him about it.

Do You hear what these are saying? (v 16a)

Jesus’ response was quick, correct and telling.

Yes. Have you never read,

‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have perfected praise’? (v 16b)

Jesus always had the right thing to say, the right judgment to make; these things brought glory to the Father because everything Jesus said was truth. The only reaction to the truth that religious leaders had was a desire to kill Him.

Looking at history, we see that this is the same way believers have been treated since the inception of the Church in Acts 2. The world hates Christians and has executed believers. This continues throughout the world. You’ll notice that many on the far Left, when facing truth, normally have no response except to denigrate, name-call and even threaten those who present the truth. We should expect nothing less really. Jesus warned us that this would occur (Matthew 10:22-24).

Christians who have begun to learn to fear (of offending) the Lord often find a growing sense of zeal for God and His word. This does not set well with unbelievers at all. In fact, they end up becoming angry. However, Christians who are more concerned with not offending God than worrying about whether or not they are offending unbelievers, have a zeal that directs their steps, words, thoughts and actions.

Christians like this wind up being guided by the principles of love from within, directed in two ways. First, it is toward God, specifically with thoughts, words and actions that please Him. Second, it is directed toward others with actions and words that are also borne of zeal through love. This may mean offering gentle correction, speaking truth in love (including rebukes), attempting to fulfill needs they may have, etc.

Authentic righteous zeal can only result from the heart that fears (offending) God. If it does not stem from that starting point, it is a put on; pretend. While that may look good to others, it does not impress God because He sees the heart.

Brothers and sisters, I am learning a great deal about fearing the Lord, which is why I share these things with you. I am not trying to give you the impression that I do these things perfectly because that is definitely not the case, so I hope I’m not misrepresenting myself. What is true is what I’m learning and I am more consistently attempting to put what I’m learning into practice. I’m finding that it is much more natural.

While it is getting easier and I have noticed a global change starting to occur in my attitude and awareness, much is needed. God provides knowledge from His Word first and then expects us to appropriate that knowledge so that it works itself out in our life where the rubber meets the road.

What I’m learning is that I don’t have to force things to happen in my life. I don’t have to pull myself up by my bootstraps to think, do and say the things that please God and bring Him glory. I have noticed that a desire to not want to offend God provides the impetus to do and say things that result in Him being pleased with me as His child.

Think about it for a few moments. If you have a tremendous desire to NOT want to offend a person, that desire is what guides you as you interact with them even when you are not around them. You are guided by the strong, growing desire to ensure that you remain above any offense that might occur if you become careless about your relationship with that person.

I hope I’m making sense. It’s a real learning process for me, and will be for the remainder of my life. May we all develop a strong desire to never offend our Lord and God. In doing so, we will gain a strength to live as He wants us to live. It’s worthy cultivating, isn’t it?

 

Entry filed under: 9/11, Agenda 21, Atheism and religion, christianity, Communism, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Cultural Marxism, Demonic, Eastern Mysticism, emergent church, Emotional virtue, eternity, Global Elite, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism, second coming, Shadow Government, Socialism, Transhumanism, Trilateral Commission.

Apostates and Impostors Fearing the Lord Wrongly

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