Living Free - Mar. 27, 2012

Tough Love

Today's Scripture

"Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives." Proverbs 19:18 NLT

Thoughts for Today

Well-meaning parents, grandparents, teachers and clergy—as well as school and government systems—often become enablers by softening or eliminating the natural consequences of their child's, student's or constituent's behavior. In yesterday's devotion, we discussed Raymond, whose drug problem ended in tragedy. That entire process and the resulting tragedy affected many lives.

Raymond developed a serious drug problem by the time he was 15. His parents, instead of drawing boundaries and seeking much needed help for their son, focused on protecting him from the natural consequences of his wrongdoing. When the school principal presented evidence that Raymond was selling marijuana, Ray's parents lashed out at the school and threatened a lawsuit.

In one year's time, Raymond was arrested five times for driving under the influence of alcohol. Each time, his parents bailed him out of jail, giving him "one more chance." Their other children were neglected. The marriage ended in divorce. Their kind of "helping" had only perpetuated Raymond's behavior and had turned into pain for the entire family.

Consider this …

If someone you love is struggling with a life-controlling problem, you can help by setting boundaries, by using tough love. Prayerfully seek out counseling. And trust God to help you through the maze.


Father, teach me to set boundaries for my loved one and to respond to wrong behaviors with tough love—and please give me the strength to follow through. In Jesus' name …

These thoughts were drawn from …

Understanding the Times and Knowing What to Do
by Dr. Jimmy Ray Lee. This book offers biblical strategies for ministry to our family and friends. Contemporary issues and needs faced by society are addressed with biblical principles that are timeless. Ideal for small group leaders and Sunday school teachers who want a better understanding of ministry in an addictive culture.

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