Saturday, April 17, 2010
what love looks like
The Word for today: Jeremiah 26
Mark these verses: "This is what the LORD says: If you do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you, and if you do not listen to the words of my prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened), I will make this house like Shiloh and this city an object of cursing among all the nations of the earth." Jeremiah 26:4-6
In the 90's, many parents attended seminars to be instructed in "Tough Love." Out of control teenagers were brought back to sanity and obedience as the parents learned to apply consequences to their teens' poor choices and attitudes. One of these tough love stories played out before my eyes.
Pamela and Ed, good friends of mine, were heartbroken, watching as their daughter, Kim, dabbled in illegal drug use. Their glowing girl, at 15 years old, had turned away from the love of her family to self destruction. The pleading and instruction of her disstraught parents fell on deaf ears.
She would not listen.
Understanding that their child's life was at stake, Pamela and Ed held back nothing. They made the call to the police, informing of them of their daughter's illicit drug and paraphernalia possession. They stood by, in pain, as the police took Kim away in handcuffs.
I was so impressed by the sacrifice my friends made for their little girl, laying down their own reputation, enduring the scorn of their wayward child, and the possibility that she might not come back to the family. This mom and dad chose to love, whatever the cost- sometimes that's what love looks like.
Tough love did win back Pamela and Ed's daughter. Kim will tell you now that her parent's decision to call the police saved her life.
God invented tough love.
Jeremiah delivered the tough love message, "then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city an object of cursing among all the nations of the earth." Everyone in Judah knew what happened in Shiloh. Big time consequences. Check out Jeremiah 7:12. "Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel."
God held nothing back. Putting His reputation on the line, risking the scorn of His people and the possibility that some would choose other gods, God chose to love--no matter what the cost. This is what love looks like--destruction of Shiloh, a sacred symbol, an emblem of belonging by a despised enemy, the Philistines--dire consequences executed to save souls, a nation, a set apart people.
The people responded in anger--Kill the prophet!
God's people would not listen.
Yet, the LORD persists in warning His children of judgement. Ever the loving parent, seeking restoration of the wayward child by refusing a compromise that will lead to eternal destruction.
God was not ambiguous about his purpose, "perhaps they will listen... then I will relent...."
God extends that same persistent love and warning today. He is waiting for us to listen.
"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:17