Friday Forum – Is “tough love” Christian?

Posted: September 21, 2012 in Friday Forum
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Welcome to the Friday Forum: a place to have some friendly discussion about issues that arise when Christianity and secular life “rub against” each other. There is no right or wrong here, just different ways to deal with things that come up. Each week I will post a topic, and my thoughts on it, and we will see where the comments take us!

I am very blessed to be the father of four young adults; a blended and blurred conglomeration of kids I acquired over the course of  two marriages, with women who had history before my story – only one of the four has my DNA, but they all have me! God has used them to teach me an awful lot about Him, and about myself. I was not the father they should have had, in the beginning, but they lived; and we laughed, cried, loved, and did the best we knew how. They have grown with us in the Lord as well, starting from zero eight years ago, but like many others their ages (23-26) they are restless and straying away from the straight path. Their stories vary, but the common threads span across an entire generation it seems: a profound refusal to accept responsibility for anything, coupled with a bizarre inability to think more than five minutes into the future. This wasn’t learned by example – both I and their mothers  taught, demonstrated, and rewarded hard work and thoughtful planning, including being honest when we didn’t do it, and so becoming the perfect negative illustration. And it worked, sort of… They know the right answers, they just don’t care to take the test. I resist the temptation to feel guilty (mostly), and I pray and plead and talk to them constantly. I set limits and boundaries, because there are limits and boundaries in life, and we all have to learn to abide; they don’t push the boundaries,exactly…they won’t even acknowledge the boundaries exist, or would ever apply to them if they did.

We have run out of options, and frankly out of patience…the two living with us are about to become homeless; the one living away on her own isn’t getting any more money or sympathy; the married one is going to have to learn how to depend on her husband rather than her daddy, even if her husband isn’t all that dependable. I am amazed at the reactions – not the kids, of course they hate it – but friends, family, even church members are shocked:  “How could you turn you back on your children! What kind of a parent are you! God blessed you with them to love and care for, and you aren’t doing it! That doesn’t seem very Christian to me! You’re only thinking about yourself!”

So here is the forum topic for this week:  Is “tough love”, holding your kids accountable for their bad choices, even if it hurts them to do so, a proper Christian attitude? Post your comments below, I will reply throughout the week, and next Friday we will discuss a different topic.

Following hard after Him,


  1. Stephanie Campbell says:

    I am homeless and sometimes want to give up but can’t. Living on the streets working every day and trying to get an apartment which is hard but I’m getting there with gods help. It not easy to be homeless struggling to get off and work