A Friday Thought…Tough Love

By Patrick Hawthorne




“If they had a social gospel in the days of the prodigal son, somebody would have given him a bed and a sandwich and he never would have gone home.” ~ Vance Havner



Seeing this quote posted on Facebook the other day, I read through it several times to ensure that I was fully comprehending the heart behind the message.  If I understand Mr. Havner correctly, he is saying that sometimes well meaning Christian’s may actually become an obstacle rather than a light because of their service to others.

There are times when we, the Body of Jesus Christ, need to forgo the act of providing excessive comfort to some in order for them to realize just how much they need to be saved from the muck they have been wallowing in.  To this, I definitely agree.  It’s called, “Tough Love.”  Or, as Paul said, “Ya don’t work, ya don’t eat.” (2 Thess 3:10).  What do you think?  Be blessed



Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Christian, snippet
15 comments on “A Friday Thought…Tough Love
  1. Andrea says:

    Speaking from the perspective of someone who has served the homeless community for the last 7 years I agree. We believe in meeting needs but we also trust the discernment of the Holy Spirit because there is a line that you can cross into enabling someone to remain where they are. Our heart is to allow God to use us by meeting those needs with the ultimate goal that it will open the door for the Gospel which truly is the answer to their needs being met (whether they realize it or not).


  2. Wally Fry says:

    Well..isn’t this quite the can of worms you have chosen to open. Now and then, we have itinerant sorts travelling through heading south. We aren’t too far off the big highway down to Louisiana. Sometimes they ask for help. We almost always offer people the chance to make an offering. We only ask that they come join us for the evening and meet us. Usually, they get funds that really help. How many are cheating us? Who knows…and who cares. It’s up to God to deal with the cheaters and us to help the needy. Now, having said that? Things may change when people we know more intimately are involved, as we certainly aren’t required to enable those we know are taking advantage of us. There, you now have a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lol…and, what a thought it is. I totally agree with you, by the way. However, it is when we enable a person to stay warm and comfortable in their sin that we have done a disservice to them.


  4. Interesting, Patrick!

    I actually haven’t worked in six months, I took a leave. What began to weigh on me was that rather than helping people to heal, I was now trapped in this system of being forced to enable them. Opiate prescriptions and addictions are a huge problem here, and you can then get a disability grant if you’re, “disabled due to addiction.” Once you get an income and housing, then they’ll actually send in a nurse to deliver your pills twice a week, make sure you’re still alive. Some people need meds for pain, but a whole lot of them don’t anymore, they have simply become classic addicts, killing themselves while the state picks up the tab. Some tough love was really needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. anitvan says:

    When it comes to serving others, our chief “guideline” is to seek their highest good. Sometimes that means fulfilling a neighbour’s immediate need, but sometimes it means withholding “help” because we know that fulfilling a particular need isn’t really helping at all and may in fact harm them further.

    The highest good for any man, of course, is to be joined eternally with Christ, so we must be careful that our “help” does not become a barrier to seeking Him. Ultimately, our “help” is in the Name of the Lord.

    It’s one thing to help a fellow in his need; it’s another thing entirely to make him *needy*. There are huge spiritual implications to turning someone towards dependence upon anything other than our God…so we have to think very carefully about what constitutes true help for our neighbour in any given situation. We look at the options, and then select the most loving one available to us.

    From a practical standpoint, it’s not an easy thing to discern another’s true need “on the fly”. Sometimes it’s easily apparent but more often you actually need to spend some time with the person to uncover their real needs.

    This stuff is super-important to me because I live smack dab in the middle of Needyville, where immediate needs (food, shelter, clothing, etc) are readily apparent, but their deeper needs dwell well below the surface. The public and the government throw a fair bit of money and resources at addressing immediate needs but very little is done to address deeper needs, spiritual needs.

    This is my every-day reality; I am confronted with need all around me and must daily make decisions about how I can best serve my neighbour in any given moment.

    I think it’s important to acknowledge that not every person (much less every Christian) is equipped to deal with the often complex “deeper needs” of another. There are times when the best help we can give is to point them towards those who ARE equipped to address those needs, and (just as importantly IMO) to walk alongside them, if we are able, on their journey. As we walk with them, we have the opportunity to then help them uncover their deepest spiritual need – the need for their Saviour. That is the need that ONLY Christ can fulfill and we, the Church, have been uniquely called to be the means by which all of humanity is pointed towards the Fulfiller of All Need. In a very real sense, this is the need that ONLY Christians are equipped to address.

    So it is serious business, this discerning of needs. The greatest need, the Highest Good of all men, is Christ, so we should be mindful that regardless which need we are addressing, we do so as Christ’s hands and feet in the world – we are Christ *to* them and *for* them – and so our actions must reflect the same. Whatever we we do for another, we do out of love and mercy for them, regardless of the form it takes. In this way, the shape of our love for others will take the form of a Cross, one that will reflect the love of Christ in all its shapes and forms.

    I am not at all opposed to the Christian seeking social justice for others…but I do strongly advocate for a more wholistic approach to addressing the needs of our neighbour.


  6. I can see you have really given this some serious thought. You make some very good points. Thanks Anita.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. SLIMJIM says:

    Agreed with you totally brother Patrick. There is a place for tough love. For my own heart check (since I know i can give lip service to tough love when it can be a guise for not loving someone) I see if I pray for that person and how I pray for him or her…


  8. Alex says:

    You really make it appear really easy with your presentation however I in finding this matter to be really something which I feel I’d by no means understand. It seems too complicated and very wide for me. I’m taking a look ahead in your subsequent post, I will try to get the cling of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This post had me from this Vance Havner quote!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 564 other followers

%d bloggers like this: