In a keynote speech at the 1952 Republican Convention, Congressman Walter Judd told this story about helping his daughter with her homework. He said, “I can get the right answer almost every time, and she would like to have me do it for her… I’ll help, suggest, advise, counsel, nudge, maybe pray, but I don’t work them for her, not because I don’t love her, but because I do, and I want her to succeed, and that is the way for her to grow and to learn how to solve problems.”
One of the hardest things for a parent to learn is that being easy on his/her children is not always in the children’s best interest. As much as a parent might want to spare his/her child from difficulties and struggles, it still is in the children’s best interest to have to deal with these things.
Struggles are spiritually needful for maturation. James 1:3 teaches this truth saying, “… the trying of your faith worketh patience.” One will not learn to be patient if he never has to face trials and difficulties in life. What do we call a child that always gets what he wants, and never has to wait or share? Spoiled! Such a child has parents that have actually hindered proper maturation.
At times, some well-meaning relative (be they parents, brothers or sisters, etc.) or friends are too ready to aid and abet, and too quickly and zealous to cushion the fall of sinful loved ones. I kindly suggest that such response only enables the sinful to continue their lifestyle.
Consider the situation in that parable of that prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). I do not know many things about what and when the father knew concerning the state of his son. Did he know that his son was “in want” (Luke 15:14)? Did he know that his son had “devoured (his) living with harlots” (Luke 15:30)? [Evidently he did, the eldest son knew!]. Did he know where his son was? Did he know that his son had “wasted his substance with riotous living” (Luke 15:13)? Did he know that when the famine hit he had “spent all” (Luke 15:14)? Did he know that his son had taken a job feeding swine (Luke 15:15)? Did he know that his son had sunk so low that he was having to eat swine’s food (Luke 15:16)? Did he know how the son’s friends’ had turned from him (Luke 15:16)? [Yes, it seems likely to me that the father knew of these things – Luke 15:30]. This I do know, many a parent today would have sent money to that sinful son. Many a dad would have rented a house and paid the utilities for this sinful son. Such response would have only encouraged the young man to continue his current manner of life, after all “daddy will bail me out”… The son would learn that there were little consequences for such a depraved, immoral life. The prodigal son, we are told, “came to himself” (Luke 15:17) and decided to return home (Luke 15:18) and confess his sins (Luke 15:18-19, 21). Watch this – only after he was allowed to hit rock bottom and fall flat on his face did his behavior change.
True love sometimes must allow hardships. True love is sometimes “tough love.” True love doesn’t allow people to continue comfortably in sin. Sometimes “loving too much” isn’t being loving at all.