There are somethings which the bible encourages us to do which we find easy, or mostly easy. But there are others which we do not, in fact which we make excuses to avoid doing. In preparing both 2 Timothy 1 for Sunday and Gospel Groups on our commitment to One Another two things have come up which I think are hard but are interelated; love and rebuke.
The world thinks of love as something nice, complementary and gentle and this has robbed us of the robust and really life changing capabilities of the love the bible talks about evidenced in the gospel and which is to be at work amonst believers. Our love for each other is not seen in saying nice things to each other but in saying what needs to be said to each other in love. Because we love each other we will help one another confront sin and fight sin pointing each other and leading one another back to the glorious freedom we find in grace.
Rebuke or warn are key terms in the New Testament, we see Paul doing this to both the churches he writes to and to the young pastors (Timothy and Titus) he leaves behind as a lasting gospel legacy. And, lest we think it is just Paul, he exhorts Timothy that he is to continue that same work. Elsewhere we see the whole church encouraged to love each other enough to help one another fight sin.
It poses the questions how much do I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, when did I last in love warn or rebuke someone? When was I last warned or rebuked? How did I accept that warning or rebuke?
Because it doesn't even take love to say something nice to someone but only real gospel love will give and accept rebuke knowing it is for our good, designed to drive us back to the cross and the liberating grace and freedom we find their in Christ our Saviour.