One of the greatest things that God gave to man is love. It can take man to the highest of joy. The number of songs and poems written on the subject demonstrates how important love is in our lives. Someone has gone so far as to say that “Love is what makes the world go around”.

As great as love is, there is a down side. Some times love hurts. If you don’t believe me, just ask someone who has been dumped by their first love or a parent who has lost a child to an accident or illness. Those who go through such grief often find it hard to continue living. The reason for such emotional grief is love. Think of the grief of our Heavenly Father, when he “gave his only begotten son” (John.3:16). After all, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). The fact that love can be the source of the greatest joy and the greatest grief is one of the greatest conundrums of all time.

Another reason that love sometimes hurts is corrective discipline. Most if not all have heard of a father who said, “This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you.” Furthermore, most if not all have heard a child argue this point. The fact is, the father is talking about emotional pain and the child is talking about physical pain. In this regard, the writer of Hebrews stated, “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth,and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 12:5-7).

Unfortunately, society (and even some in the Lord’s church) believe that physical punishment of a child is abusive and motivated by hate. The folly of this perversion of love is easily seen in the effect it has had on society (especially in our schools). Those who withhold corrective discipline really don’t love their child. In fact, all who are without corrective discipline are considered fatherless and not sons at all. Remember, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Proverbs 13:24).

Yes, sometimes love hurts. Often that pain is unfortunate, but, at other times it is necessary. Don’t avoid corrective discipline because of the pain that it brings. Whether you are on the giving or receiving end, be sure that it is always understood that it is done in love for the greatest good of all.

Bruce Stulting