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Tough Love

In the story of Joshua, verse 17, we witness a story of tough love. Joshua used this approach with the people of Israel (people of Joseph) as they grumbled, because they felt they weren't allotted enough land. They thought they were too great, too numerous, and too blessed to not get more land, so they complained to Joshua. Joshua said, 'since you are so numerous and since the land is not enough for you, then you can go up into the forest and clear the land yourselves.' But the people still didn't like that idea. They were afraid of the Canaanites and the others who lived in the surrounding areas. Instead of Joshua feeling sorry for them and just giving them something for nothing, he made them work for it. And he did so in an unyielding, caring and encouraging way. Tough love.

Tough love is about ensuring people earn their keep. This way they will come to appreciate things. I learned this with my kids a long time ago yet it's still difficult sometimes, because when you see your loved ones in "pain", you want to jump in and help. But "no pain, no gain." They have to do it for themselves. That's how we all learn to navigate through life. I know now, after much trial and error, the things I always gave my kids left little gratitude and appreciation from them. Consequently, I learned to lead from an unwavering place of gentle nudging and persuasion. And the outcome has been better and more effective. Tough love.

Joshua gave the people something they could be proud of. Empowerment. He told them, 'you are numerous and very powerful. Clear the land of the Canaanites and its farthest limits will be yours. Yes the Canaanites have chariots fitted with iron and though they are strong, you can drive them out. I know you can.' He believed in them. Now, that's motivation.

So in essence I'm taking a play out of Joshua's play book. He wanted them to develop their own drive and determination to do it themselves. And that's what tough love is all about.






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