According to our culture, love shields people’s sensitive feelings from hurt. According to God, love protects people’s eternal souls from harm. Biblical love won’t support actions and ideals that damage people. Hurt versus harm—there is a world of difference.
When Jesus talked with Peter after he’d denied knowing Christ three times on the night of His betrayal, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him (John 21:15-19). It hurt Peter that Jesus asked him a third time.
Why would Jesus hurt Peter’s feelings?
Let me ask you something? Do you remember when someone you love hurt your feelings because your actions needed addressing? Years ago, my husband said to me, “Debbie, when you’re overcommitted we all suffer.” I didn’t like what he said. But on reflection, I knew he was right. His hurtful words, spoken in love, provoked positive change.
Jesus had a very important message for Peter. So important He needed to repeat it three times, even though it hurt Peter to hear it three times.
A third time he asked him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time” (Jn. 21:17 NLT).
There was nothing unkind about Jesus’s words. But, they reminded Peter of his weakness and failing. Jesus’s purpose wasn’t to inflict pain. But protecting Peter was more important than shielding Peter, or Himself, from temporary discomfort.
Jesus would soon return to His Father in heaven. Peter was to lead the church. Peter needed to understand that nothing less than loving Jesus most of all could support him for this commission. Love for the sheep, for results, or for the ministry would fail him. But loving Jesus would carry him all the way to his own death.
Beware of Sweet-Sounding Slogans
Today, our culture tests our love for Jesus using the guise of sweet-sounding slogans. It pressures parents to prove their love to their children by celebrating same-sex unions or supporting gender confusion. Workers that ask to be evaluated by their work performance instead of by their ideology are called intolerant. How do we know how to act in today’s world?
The Bible says we don’t have to be “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming” (Ephes. 4:14 NIV). Knowing and living the truth frees us from the pressure to conform to this world. Love knows that tolerating behavior the Bible calls destructive ultimately causes deeper and longer-lasting pain.Knowing and living the truth frees us from the pressure to conform to this world. Love knows that tolerating behavior the Bible calls destructive ultimately causes deeper and longer-lasting pain. #wisdom Click To Tweet
- Can I trust my gut?
- How do we know what’s right?
- What is the loving thing to do?
- What does the Bible say about the practice of homosexuality?
- What does the Bible say about genders?
- Why did God create marriage?
- Should I attend my gay relative’s wedding?
I hope you find it helpful, either for yourself or for someone you know confused by today’s current issues. Cultures come and go, “but the word of our God endures forever” (Is. 40:8 NIV).