"Tough Love"

Paul cautioned us to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus” It is impossible to run the race with endurance if we are weighted down with unnecessary baggage.

That “weight and sin” can come from many sources. They are those things which we hold onto, fail to process, let go of and move on – those things that only work to drag us down and overwhelm us. They can be secret sins, worldly obsessions, lusts of the flesh, bad habits, negative thoughts, hatred, anger, bitterness and even unforgiveness. They can be the cares of this world which burden many with unnecessary worry, insecurity and fear. They can often be church commitments and abusive systems that are based on the pressure to perform, legalistic demands and a works mentality which have little to do our authenticity and simplicity in Him. Many believers today are facing the painful decision of cutting their ties with the toxicity of churchanity, abusive leaders, spiritual weirdness and sensation driven movements to return our New Testament roots.

That weight often comes in the form of unhealthy relationships and commitments that have long since lost their value and relevance. They do little more than suck us dry, bog us down and wear us out. Sometimes they are friendships in name only. They are those so-called friends who always take but never give, who never “walk in” when everyone else has “walked out”, who always want your support, understanding or shoulder to cry on but never give their’ s. They are only a one-way road heading in their direction.

They can be abusive relationships that we have tolerated and made lame excuses for too long. They can be relationships where we are “unequally yoked” with an unbeliever whose carnal influence steers us off track and causes us to compromise our spiritual convictions and integrity. They can be dysfunctional family relationships that will never change, never heal and never do anything except weigh us down with guilt, worry and negativity. They can be relationships with both “worldlings” and with those of the household of faith. Sometimes these can be codependent relationships where we repeatedly enable the other party in their never-ending cycle of dysfunction. They can be Christians and church members who do not walk in the truth of God’s word but follow after false teachings and false movements. We often do this out of a misplaced sense of faithfulness, loyalty and brotherly love. Sometimes we just do it out of guilt. But there comes a time when enough is enough and, for the sake of our own spiritual, emotional, and mental well-being, we have to purge our lives from such relationships.

Sometimes we have to draw a line in the sand and finally say, “NO! Enough is enough!” Sometimes we have to face up to the procrastination and denial we’ve hidden behind. Sometimes we must establish healthy boundaries rather than be continually sucked into a black hole of turmoil, melodrama, manipulation. The only thing that chronically dysfunctional relationships produce is a spirit of heaviness and rotten fruit. Sometimes we have to stop casting our pearls before the proverbial swine who trample our gifts into the mud and turn to rend us with criticism and censorship.

Most of us know in our spiritual gut if you are struggling with the decision to cut it loose. More so, now than ever, it is a time to flush our system of those things that clog our life with those unnecessary burdens God never meant for us to carry. It doesn’t matter whether they are people, places or things; It doesn’t matter whether they church demands, religious systems, the expectation of others, the pressure of performance driven Christianity or guilt trips - you know what they are and who they are. Times such as these call for “tough love” but tough love requires toughness.

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