Tough Love

John Koedyker

READ : 2 Corinthians 2:1-11

I wrote you . . . not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you. (v. 4 NIV)

Most people do not like conflict. We avoid confrontation like the plague. It might be counterproductive and make more trouble. It is much safer, we tell ourselves, to not make waves.

But is that always the best course to take? Often things get worse when we avoid talking about a difficult issue. Some-times we call it the elephant in the room—the problem that everyone knows about but no one wants to address. So everyone pretends not to notice it. How ridiculous!

Paul met conflict head on. Things were not going well in the Corinthian church, and he knew that if the problems there were not corrected, they would only get worse. So he confronted them. And even though his strong words may have seemed harsh to the Corinthian Christians, Paul wanted them to know that he spoke out of “the depth of his love” for them.

Tough love is just that. It’s tough; not easy to do. Talking seriously to fellow believers about their behavior can produce an angry response. But—at least in the church—it has to be done, done out of love for Christ and the body of Christ, and done in the spirit of love for the other person. As someone has said, the best rebuke is given with an arm of love around the other person.


Lord, give me the courage to speak the truth in love.