Tough Love for a Soft Church


"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent" (Rev. 3:19).

Novelist John Steinbeck once attended a church in New England which made a lasting impression. The plainspoken pastor challenged his smug, self-centered lifestyle.

It is our practice now, at least in the large cities, to find from our psychiatric priesthood that our sins aren't really sins at all but accidents...There was no nonsense in this church. The minister...reassured us that we were a pretty sorry lot. And he was right.

Steinbeck needed to be confronted with the awful truth from a "no nonsense" preacher. And so did Laodicea two thousand years earlier. This spiritually lukewarm church nauseated the Savior (v.16). Their character was soft and flabby from indulgence in materialism (v.17).

Their only hope was to be tried "in the fire" (v.18). That is, to undergo hardship to toughen them up. They needed to exercise their faith before spiritual atrophy wasted them away to nothing. If they did not heed the Lord's "tough love," they would forfeit their very lives!

Are you getting soft in your comfort zone?

Dear Lord, help me to see myself through your eyes and change through your love. In Jesus' name, Amen.