Hurt to Help

Romans 12:9
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong.
Hold tightly to what is good (v.9).


One of professor Haddon Robinson’s seminary
students once came to speak with him about
her husband’s assignments. She told him that
her husband was under a lot of pressure and had been
working hard, but he was running behind on getting his
work done. But rather than asking Haddon to cut her
husband some slack, she asked him not to. While she
wanted him to do well and complete his studies, she also
thought that people tended to go easy on her husband,
and it wasn’t helping him to learn how to get things done
on time.

This man’s wife wasn’t being vindictive. She was trying
to help her husband—even though her intervention might
have cost him a good grade.

Love seeks the best for others, even if it stretches them
and makes them feel uncomfortable. It’s part of what
Paul talked about when he wrote, “Don’t just pretend to
love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold
tightly to what is good” (Romans 12:9).

No one loves perfectly, but love is the standard
Jesus calls us to seek (v.10; John 15:12). And even
Jesus showed us that there was more to real love than
simply making a person feel better. After His death and
resurrection, Jesus took Peter back to the night that he
denied Him three times (John 21:15-17). It was a deeply
painful time for Peter to recall, but Jesus took him there
so He could reaffirm Peter and his mission.

Even though it sometimes hurts, real love asks: “How can I be an instrument
that God can use to challenge and confront someone else?” Our goal is to help
them become more of what God intends for them to be. Will you be willing to
hurt in order to help? —Jeff Olson

Read 2 Corinthians 7:8 to see how Paul cared enough for the
Corinthians to bring them a painful message.

Where might God be calling you to “hurt” someone in order to help him or her? What’s
the difference between hurting someone unnecessarily and speaking the truth in love?