By Ron Halbrook
Our love for others may cost us much pain. Do not confuse the pain of love with the pain of unbridled lust. Immorality is often glorified in our culture but the painful price of such living is also recounted in songs which tell of “the day after,” the loneliness, the emptiness of it all. One who commits fornication goes like an ox “to the slaughter” or a bird “to the snare” – “he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul” (Prov. 7:22-23; 6:32). Truly, “the way of transgressors is hard” (13:15). But, the wounds and sorrows we get from sinning is not the point of this study.
We should love others enough to make sacrifices and to suffer pain for their good. Such pain increases when a person whom we try to help does not realize what he needs and does not understand or appreciate what we are doing for him, As parents we see our children in tears at different stages of life because of decisions we make or our disciplinary action. Perhaps matches had to be taken away and little hands spanked. Maybe it was time for the child to give up the bottle or to quit sucking the thumb. Loving our children brings pain to both them and ourselves.
Genuine love is never cheap. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). Imagine God’s agony when He saw the way the world treated His beloved Son. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (Jn. 1:11). This means that after many centuries of preparing the Jews to receive His Son, many of them rejected Him. Loving us cost Jesus Christ the glories of heaven. As Deity He was originally “in the form of God,” but He willingly “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:6-8).
True love requires teaching men the truth, which can be painful. It must be done if we love the lost, no matter how much pain it brings. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32). But those He taught did not want to hear about their sins. It was not easy for Jesus to tell them, “Ye are of your father the devil,” and not easy for them to hear it (v. 44). Men must be convicted of sin before they can be saved. Jesus told His Apostles to preach the gospel, including this: “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:16). It is not easy for Christians to preach or for sinners to hear that all men are lost until they are immersed in water upon faith in Christ, but we must speak “the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).
Paul regretted having to point out the sins of Christians in Corinth, but then he rejoiced to see them correct their lives (2 Cor. 7:8-11). It is never easy to deal with sin in the camp (Josh. 7). When Christians refuse to repent, the Holy Spirit commanded the church “that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly” (2 Thess. 3:6). The purpose is to cause him to repent that he may again be saved (1 Cor. 5:4-5).
Christian parents make hard decisions as their children approach teen-age. The family will miss ball games to attend worship rather than vice versa (Heb. 10:25). Young ladies are taught to quit wearing the shorts and other brief attire of childhood (I Pet. 3:4). While their worldly friends go to dances, proms, mixed swimming parties, and “beer busts,” teen-agers in Christian homes learn to ask, “What would Christ do?” He must be our example at all times and not our worldly friends (2:21). We are sad to see our children sad at times, but we endure the pain of love in order to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 2, pp. 43, 56
January 15, 1987