Few words have been used more inaccurately and loosely in recent years than has “love.” With a great many people, it is but a synonym for moral laxity, weakness of character, a taking the line of least resistance, a quiet tolerating of what is felt to be wrong.
Multitudes of parents have supposed they were treating their children “lovingly” when they overlooked their folly, made excuses for their wildness, and refused to discipline them for disobedience. They have prided themselves on being “kinder” toward their children than the “stern measures” which were meted out to themselves in their own youth. But it is laxity–not love–which allows a child to have its own way. “He who spares his rod hates his son; but he who loves him, chastens him early” (Proverbs 13:14). Let those of our readers who have young children ponder Proverbs 19:18; 22:15; 23:13, 14; 29:15, 17, and remember, that those are the words of Him who is Love!
This same evil has held sway in the churches. Leniency and weakness have overridden righteousness and faithfulness. Instead of maintaining and enforcing the discipline which God’s Word enjoins, the great majority of the churches have winked at even glaring sins, refusing to deal with those who walk disorderly. This laxity is misnamed love. A mushy sentimentality which shrank from “hurting the feelings” of others has ousted all concern for the glory of Christ and the honor of His house.
This is one of the inevitable effects of the lopsided preaching of the pulpit, where the ‘love’ and ‘grace’ of God were constantly proclaimed, while His ‘justice’ and ‘wrath’ were studiously ignored. God is ‘light’ (1 John 1:5) as well as ‘love’ (1 John 4:8); ‘holy’ as well as ‘merciful’; ‘severe’ as well as ‘good’ (Romans 11:22). Unless the balance is preserved between those two sides of the Divine character, not only will He be grievously misrepresented, but the most serious results will follow!
– A. W. Pink