Should Love Ever Be Tough?


“My son, if you receive my words,

And treasure my commands within you,

So that you incline your ear to wisdom,

And apply your heart to understanding;

Yes, if you cry out for discernment,

And lift up your voice for understanding,

If you seek her as silver,

And search for her as for hidden treasures;

Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,

And find the knowledge of God.

For the Lord gives wisdom;

From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;

He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;

He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;

He guards the paths of justice,

And preserves the way of His saints.” Proverbs 2:1-8


Very quickly after I published my little devotional on people hurting their spouses who are hurting them terribly and even continually need to LOVE, to FORGIVE, and to STOP POINTING THE FINGER and to take responsibility for their own wrongdoing and to repent from it, a loving friend contacted me to share with me her thoughts about how sometimes love must be tough as well known minister James Dobson wrote about in a book years ago and as psychologists, counselors, friends and family, and others will often advise. Her communication to me made it sound like perhaps she didn’t think at least in my devotional anyway that I believe love needs to sometimes be tough in marriage – particularly in cases of abuse, adultery, and such. Three things came to mind in response to her contact with me. First, my opinion doesn’t matter but what matters is GOD’S TRUTH as He teaches in His Word. Second, GOD’S TRUTH as He teaches in His Word regarding whether love needs to be tough needs to be shared with His followers and needs to be put into practice by all of us.

Here, to my friend who contacted me, and for all of you and myself, is the truth:

  1. God commands us to LOVE, to FORGIVE, and to STOP POINTING THE FINGER and to take responsibility for our own wrongdoing and to repent from it NO MATTER HOW WE ARE TREATED.
  2. WE MUST LOVE, FORGIVE, AND REPENT OF OUR OWN SINS AND NOT JUDGE OTHERS FOR THEIR SINS, but WHAT GOD WANTS US TO DO in the midst of marital problems including abuse and adultery not to mention any other trials in life involving how others treat us including when they treat us wrongfully can be FOUND BY SEEKING HIM IN PRAYER, STUDYING HIS WORD TO FIND HIS WILL, SEEKLY COUNSEL FROM CHRIST FOLLOWERS WHO ARE STRONG IN THEIR FAITH AND UNDERSTANDING GOD’S WORD, and IN HEARING GOD’S SPIRIT SPEAK TO OUR HEARTS which will ALWAYS and ONLY be in line with His Word.

The Lord makes clear in His Word that He Himself is sometimes gentle and tender in His love for us, and at other times firm and tough and stern and convicting. It is ALL His love, but His love is expressed in different ways depending on the situations and circumstances and people involved. He also makes clear there are times He desires us to stay in a situation and other times He desires us to walk away or at least take a break. There are times to confront those hurting us, and there are times to step away and let Him or others do the confronting. This is all IN HIS WORD. This is ALL LED BY HIS SPIRIT in line with His Word.

But here is the key, and please don’t miss this. NO MATTER WHETHER God calls us to love gently and tenderly or to love in a firm, stern, and tough way, whether He calls us to confront or to step away and let Him or others do the confronting, whether He calls us to take a break or to walk away and never come back, all in accordance with His Word led by His Spirit, we are commanded to LOVE, to FORGIVE, and to STOP POINTING THE FINGER and to repent from our own sins such that whatever the other person ends up doing, and whatever ends up happening regarding our relationship to that person, that WE OURSELVES ARE IN THE WILL OF THE LORD as far as LOVE, FORGIVENESS, and PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY in God’s eyes are concerned.

At the end of the day, no matter what anyone else on this earth does or does not do, no matter how good and right or how awful and heinous or anywhere in between, and no matter the present or future of our relationships with others, WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR BELIEVING IN AND FOLLOWING THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WHEREBY WE CONTINUALLY PURIFY OURSELVES FROM ANY SIN IN OUR HEARTS, WORDS, AND ACTIONS, AND LIVE DAILY TO BRING LOVE, PRAISE, HONOR, AND GLORY TO GOD!

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