Sometimes I believe we mix up tough love with God’s grace, especially when it comes to our children. That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be consequences for their unwise choices or actions, but it is how we mete out those consequences that make the difference between tough love and grace.
Grace is God’s unmerited favor, but even more than that grace is God’s favor freely extended to us because He gives Himself away to us and others and is always leaning toward his beautiful creation that is created in the image of Him.
I think of the Samaritan woman at the well, who had been married at least four times and was living with a man that was not her husband. She was an outcast and wouldn’t go to gather water from the well in the cool of the morning with the other women because she was shunned and judged by them. Instead, she would wait until the hottest part of the day, when no one else would be there and she could gather her water in a bit of peace. Then she met Him, the Man, who would die an excruciating death of pain and asphyxiation nailed to a cross for her sins, my sins and your sins. Yet, what did Jesus do? He offered her grace and set the foundation for a culture of honor.
A culture of honor is where we recognize that we all fall short of the glory of God and realize that we all mess up and sometimes those mess ups have consequences and to give those consequence in a way that honors God and not simply feels like the right thing to do. Many times the consequences in a culture of honor feel counter cultural to what society says we should do. But Jesus was radical in his thinking, perhaps that is part of the reason the Pharisee’s didn’t like Jesus, because he didn’t play by their rules. Jesus also calls us to think like him.
But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16b.
Which means we have the intellect to receive God’s thoughts through faith, which also means we must stay connected to God consistently to create a culture of honor in our homes and in our communities.
Precious One, you and I, we deserved to die that torturous death on the cross but Jesus took our place. That’s grace and grace is what we ought to extend to others, nothing less. Even when, no, especially when the actions of others are deserving of consequences.
Live radical. Live like Jesus.