Our love for others can cost us a lot of pain and anguish. Do not confuse the pain of love with the pain of unbridled lust. Immorality is often glorified in our culture, but love and lust have nothing whatsoever in common. One who commits fornication goes like an ox “to the slaughter” or a bird “to the snare” – “he that does it destroys his own soul” (Prov. 7:22-23 cf; 6:32). Truly, “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23) (Prov 13:15), but, love covers a multitude of sins (1 Pet 4:8).
We should love others enough to make sacrifices and to suffer pain for their good. Such pain increases when a person whom we try to help does not realize what he needs and does not understand or appreciate what we are doing for him. Parents see their children in tears at different stages of life because of decisions or disciplinary actions they had to make. Loving your children brings pain to both them and yourselves.
Genuine love is never cheap. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). Imagine God’s agony when He saw the way the world treated His beloved Son. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (Jn. 1:11). This means that after many centuries of preparing the Jews to receive His Son, many of them rejected Him. Loving us cost Jesus Christ the glories of heaven. As Deity He was originally “in the form of God,” but He willingly “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:6-8).
True love requires teaching men the truth, which can be painful. It must be done if we love the lost, no matter how much pain it brings. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32). But those He taught did not want to hear about their sins. It was not easy for Jesus to tell them, “You are of your father the devil,” and not easy for them to hear it (Jn 8:44). Men must be convicted of sin before they can be saved. Jesus told His Apostles to preach the gospel, including this: “he that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:16). It is not easy for Christians to preach or for sinners to hear that all men are lost until they are immersed in water upon faith in Christ, but we must speak “the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). It is not easy to tell a Christian who as erred from the faith that they are destined for hell if they continue in an adulterous marriage (Mt 19:9 f; Jam 5:19,20). If Christians don’t warn their fallen brother or sister in Christ, then who will? And if Christians don’t warn the sinner, their blood will be upon our head (Ezek 33:7-9).
Paul regretted having to point out the sins of Christians in Corinth, but then he rejoiced to see them correct their lives (2 Cor. 7:8-11). It is never easy to deal with sin in the camp (Josh. 7). When Christians refuse to repent, the Holy Spirit commanded the church “that you withdraw yourselves from every brother that walks disorderly” (2 Thess. 3:6). The purpose is to cause him to repent that he may again be saved (1 Cor. 5:4-5). It is not easy to tell Christian women to remain silent in the church even though they are educated in the way of the Lord and capable of speaking and teaching (1 Cor 14:33-40). Nevertheless, Christians must obey God rather than men and submit to God’s Will (Acts 5:29).
Truly, love hurts but the pain of hell hurts far longer and much worse. Therefore, preachers and teachers of the Word must remain in season and out of season, teaching those things that few want to hear and even fewer want to endure and obey (2 Tim 4:2-5).