The Long Arc of Real Love

Packed away in the laundry room of my basement, off the beaten paths of normal household traffic, smashed together with the dried-up ladybugs and an occasional spider, are twenty garbage bags filled with toys. They belong to our kids.

A few weeks ago, after more than one prophetic notice, my wife and I packed up every single toy in our house. Our gentle, shepherding efforts, so often used to break up fights over My Little Ponies, reached the tipping point. We've told the children over and over, "Your relationship with one another is more important than your stuff." The time had come to show them. So we did. Now the toys are gone.

Now, to be honest, I have my doubts whether this was the best way to teach the lesson. I expect a child psychologist could make a case that this was a parental blooper, that it might cause some issues in the future or something. I don't know for sure. But what I do know is this: I love my children. We packed up their toys, temporarily, indefinitely, because we love them.

And that's the thing with love: it doesn't always feel like love. Most Christians understand this. There is a category for it -- "tough love," we might say. It's what we call love that feels unpleasant, love that's greeted with a measure of pain instead of joy. "I love you, so I'm taking away your toys" is an example.

But how is that love?

[Read the rest of the article at Desiring God.]