It would do me well to ALWAYS remember these two little facts.
One___Every coin has two sides.
Two___There were two brothers in the story of the prodigal son.
So, "What's the deal with those two statements?" you ask.
FIRST the two brothers thing.
When I discovered the "far country" brother in the story of the prodigal son, I was ELATED because I could see myself in him. Grace IS wonderful, is it not!
Then I discovered the "In the field" brother and I saw how he condemned the "far country" sibling and I got ANGRY at the "In the field" guy and all those like him who condemn those who had been in the "Far country."
And to this day many Christians often condemn other Christians who may find themselves acting like the "Far country" guy, in their opinion.
"Boy, those 'In the field' people [elder brother] are REALLY filled with pride and they don't even see it, shame on those 'in the field' characters." I have said or thought judgmentally MANY TIMES.
But as I said that or thought that it was OBVIOUS I had failed to notice that the Father LOVED THEM BOTH. How novel is THAT!
NOW the coin thing.
It's amazing how so many so-called "Christians" can often be downright hateful and condemning in their words about the behavior of others, especially sexual behavior or divorce, and then excuse it with, "Oh I'm just expressing tough love by telling them the truth about their sin."
Can I say it? Baloney.
If we Christians REALLY want to tell the truth about SIN, let's deal with the pride, gluttony, selfishness, egotism, lying, hatred and anger, found in our own lives. Oh, wait, we can't go there, that’s our stuff!
I believe “tough love” REALLY means doing just that. Actually going there. Going down deep in our OWN life to do battle with the reality of our OWN garbage. Especially the stuff like our OWN temptation to be MORE concerned about being RIGHT than being GRACIOUS. Deep enough to face our OWN twisted need to have the LAST WORD and to WIN an ARGUMENT even if we have to be ARGUMENTATIVE and ANGRY to do it. In other words, facing our OWN propensity for winning at any cost.
Tough love means the love of Christ in us is tough enough to help us see the TRUTH [log] about ourselves before looking at the SIN [splinter] in someone else. The funny thing is, I think we’ll find REALLY ourselves being able to be far more gracious once we’ve seen our OWN “log.”
That’s having tough love.
That's what I would call side "A" of the coin.
But the flip side [B] of that coin is important too and it is being willing to know that our opinion on ANY ISSUE is NOT the last word. We would ALL do well to ALWAYS remember that our opinion is NOT the most important thing in any conversation whether in person or on the Internet.
When I remember this, I WON'T get caught up in thinking my opinion NEEDS to be heard. I think it MAY WELL BE that the ability to know what I say ISN'T the most important thing in any REAL conversation, is ALMOST as important as being willing to stand for truth. That's side "B" of the coin.
I guess you could call that the heads AND tails of the coin of sharing ideas and learning to do so with genuine humility. I need both sides of that coin in my life.
It may be good at this point to be reminded that TRUE HUMILITY, at least according to a friend of mine, isn't thinking LESS of yourself. It's thinking of yourself LESS. When my friend said that, he was paraphrasing what C.S. Lewis said with this, "An humble person will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all. If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can tell him the first step is to realize that one really does suffer from PRIDE, and that really is a problem."
What both my friend and C.S.Lewis said points out to me that WHEN I think that WHAT I think about other people's OPINIONS or BEHAVIOR is the FINAL WORD and MUST be heard, I've really got a pride problem.
My love for them and grace shown to them SHOULD be my final focus. When that's true of me, THEN I'll leave the "JUDGMENT" of their opinions AND behavior to the One Who knows the HEART of the matter! [Owe NO person ANYTHING except to love that person.The rest we can work out in a true relationship.