When we are asked about love, we often have something splendid and pleasant that comes to mind. The truth is, most of us actually think the same. We often perceive love to be an extraordinary, un-rivalled feeling that just feels majestic and simply – wonderful. What we don't know is that love comes in various aspects of life. In fact, not all love involves a sense of satisfaction, contentment or delight. God the Father being our example, we can know and clearly comprehend the measures of His immense love for us. We can also see that His love is also portrayed in another view – a view which we may consider as both harsh and meaningless. Something we may often ignore or disregard for it being unreasonable.
Growing up, I have always thought of my childhood and the way my parents brought me up as something not worth appreciating. If only I can count all the tears I have horribly wept. You see, my parents were quite rigid in the way they disciplined me and my sisters. And for the worst part, it was probably I who got a lot of spanking – which is exactly the reason why I have wept just so much! I remember asking my parents whether they really loved me – because if they did, they surely wouldn't be the ones causing my pain. In turn, they would always answer and tell me that they loved me so much -- the reason why they always spanked and scolded me for doing things I cannot even remember. They say that their spankings were their way of shaping my behavior – so that I would grow up to be a good, decent human being. At those times, their reasons were something I just could not accept as a child. It hurt me so much to believe that what they were asserting was nothing, but the truth.
It was indeed in my early teenage years when I fully grasped the fact that my parents used to put about, which I then rendered as
unacceptable. Being a teenager surrounded by all kinds of influence I could see around the world, it was good that at a young age, I was taught what was totally wrong from right. Although at those times I received no more spanking whatsoever, living a life based on the principles and values of the Bible was surely something I could not only be pleased of. It was also something that reflected the successful work of my parents in my life.
Basing on my experiences as a child, I could share that God is the same with us. Being our Father, He makes sure that we grow up with behaviors distinct from the world and lifestyles that is in line with our identity in Christ. Unlike soft love where we receive gentle taps on the shoulder reminding us of our faults, tough love is entirely different. In Proverbs 23 : 14, it states that "whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them." While we may deem tough love as harsh and unkind, I believe that it is completely necessary because it is a part of who God is. As God is all just and merciful at the same time, He ensures that He enforces both. He simply can't be just and leave being merciful behind or vice versa. Although our Father up there is gentle and someone we can talk to, He isn't spoiling us for the fact that He doesn't just go about tolerating absurd behavior. Like our parents who knows what is best for us, God also, in all ways, know what He's up to. There is no doubt that he loves us EVEN at our worst. Even then, we have to know where we have gone wrong.
In Romans 2:4, we clearly read that God's kindness does not mean that He will tolerate our wrongdoings. Because of God's high standards, we as His children are expected to aim for that -- which is perfection. And because we live in a world that is broken, God holds and guides us step by step -- even it requires trudging rocky roads, climbing steep cliffs and enduring a lot of spanking. God calls us to step up and be different. With soft love and gentle whispers, we are prone to forget what is taught to us, but with the tough love that God uses as His method to train us and richly grow our faith, we can be sure that the life lessons He's giving us is something that will last. Sometimes, we should just look at the two sides of the coin -- one is the wider road and the other is narrower. Both comes with advantages and disadvantages, we just need to choose one.
When we begin to fully understand how God's method works, things will be a lot easier -- and not only that. As we continue in this process and eventually grow as mature children of God, it is not only us who will benefit from it. More than that, God Himself will be glorified when everyone witnesses His outstanding work and moving in our lives.
(This is a paper I wrote for a unit study we were working on, hope you learn from it as I much as I did)
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