Monday, May 27, 2024


It’s tough love. Tough love is the practice of being very strict with someone to help them correct their behaviour.  Jesus as Lord commands us to love in his ways. He commands us to walk together in love.

Nicky Gumbel, the inspiration behind the Alpha programme, has recently posted a couple of quotes on Facebook from Alice Cooper, the American rock singer. Almost as old as me (!) Cooper used to plaster his face with lurid black make-up. An old picture of him accompanies the quote: Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian is a tough call. That’s real rebellion.  Yes, real rebellion.

Doing stuff that Jesus calls us to do is tough There’s an act of compassion, someone who could really benefit from us giving them some time. We just don't feel like doing it. Jesus says: 'Do it for me.' There’s a commitment that I know Jesus would like but I don’t feel like doing it. Jesus says: 'Do it for me.' When my home group discussed keeping commitments recently (I mentioned this in a post) we saw the challenge between the practical commitments that are required in our daily lives - paying bills, keeping appointments, doing jobs and the voluntary commitments that Jesus requires.  Those commitments reveal our willingness to obey with tough love. Jesus love. Agape.

Local churches work by tough love - when their congregations make commitments to each other and their neighbours that Jesus requires, commands.  And I know it as an itinerant preacher.  When you visit a church for the first time, sadly, sometimes you can feel the tensions where people are working an organization rather than working at love. Sometimes it has almost seemed that aliens had come and sucked out life spirit from people and left soulless bodies.  

It's obvious that the formula for a spiritual strong church needs LOVE. X.  And in this letter John keenly links love with one other vital requirement. Y.  It's mentioned five times in the first four verses.....

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