Mom’s Tough Love – Sermon Summary   Leave a comment

John 15:1-8.

This is going to hurt me more than it is going to hurt you.  Remember that one?  Parents are notorious for it and as a parent I do understand – but it is still a lie!  We may feel an emotional sting but it is nothing like the physical one.

I remember one place where they didn’t even bother using that line – school.  Yes, I’m old enough to remember school paddling.  There’s only one real way to remember these things – being a victim!  OK, I earned them all.  The one that stands out in my mind…

…is from 7th grade gym class.  A buddy and I were horsing around because our teacher never paid attention.  This particular day, he paid attention!  So we had to leave our locker/classroom and go into the gym for our punishment.  I’ve never seen a larger man gripping a larger paddle in my life.  Mind you, I was stupid enough to goof off in the guy’s class that also happened to be a former linebacker turned head football coach.

He took us to the gym, asked us both to assume the position (hello ankles!) and followed with a quick lecture on classroom etiquette.  Then…WHACK!  One for each of us was truly all that was needed.  If I didn’t have so many knee problems later in life resulting in 6 surgeries, I would probably still feel the pain of that paddling thirty-some years ago.  Wow, that guy could swing a paddle.

He never said that this was going to hurt him and I’m sure it didn’t.  I do remember Mom saying that to me a time or two, but her punishments were never as impressive as my gym teacher.  In fact, my grown-up eyes look back and think that she was far too lenient.  Regardless of the punishment earned or received, my loving connection with Mom was never in doubt.

The Bible speaks in several places of vines and branches, mostly about how God is the vine and his people are branches.  Jesus elaborates a bit on this in today’s text.  The main points of this text show us that Christians are connected to God, pruning is a painful yet positive exercise, and that God is the Gardener who takes away the deadwood and prunes the fruit producers to enhance their productivity.

Sometimes the Lord has to discipline us and this comes in many forms.  While punishment from above is never a pleasant experience, hindsight will show God’s purpose and the positive results.  It is almost always to help us realize sin in our lives that has no place being there.  It is God’s tough love.

In my youth group growing up, there were some that I became connected with that weren’t exactly living Christian lives.  In fact, if we weren’t together at youth group functions, we were out partying.  No details are necessary – it was all illegal.  Of course, I was absolutely certain that Mom never knew. 

One day two of my friends came to pick me up for the partying purpose.  Mom intercepted them in the driveway.  I never knew what she said to them, but when I got outside they said that we needed to talk.  They informed me that my Mom just prohibited them from going anywhere with me unless it was with the church youth group to one of our church functions.  There was another pair of guys that had similar experiences with and that was soon thwarted as well.

I remember being furious with Mom because in my 14 year old mind, all she was doing was taking away my friends.  After some time passed, I started to notice something about my ‘friends’ and how other people looked at them.  They quickly started looking to me like someone I didn’t want to be like because they were on the path to becoming a bunch of bums.  At least that was my conclusion as the rest of our teen years past.  It wasn’t long at all that I completely lost contact and wasn’t disappointed, until these days when I really wonder how they turned out.

Pruning is a painful thing.  Mom was exercising tough love even though she knew that I was going to be upset with her for a while.  It was worth it to her and me as the point was to pluck me from a path of self-destruction and get me back on the right path. 

If you are in a season of pruning from above right now, it is because God loves you and wants what is best for you.  He wants you to live right because He has an awesome plan for you if you will just follow Him.

Why does God prune?  Look at verses 9-11.  His love for you is manifest in such a way that He wants His joy to be in you and to thrive while it’s there!  Allowing God to prune you spiritually can always result in great things if you just let Him be God and have His way in your life.

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