This subculture that creates troubled adults needs to see another side of love, which takes a variety of forms.

You learn this pretty quickly as a parent. A good parent is tender and tough, depending on what his child needs. We have a hard time translating this truth into our adult lives when we relate to God. Sometimes God is still and tough with us because He loves us.  He’s not being abusive.  Athletes tend to understand this concept better than the rest of the population.

Galli says we ignore tougher biblical passages because they make us uncomfortable.

A lot of this discomfort revolved around the misconceptions by some Christians that anger and conflict are always wrong and that Jesus is always nice.  We need to topple this false idol of Jesus that we’ve made.  [The real Jesus is the same one who] invites those who are weary and heavy-laden to come to Him for rest.  What we all have to learn is that Jesus’ love comes to us in a variety of ways; sometimes it feels good; sometimes it doesn’t.  But if we give it time, we’ll see that many of the things that didn’t feel good were really God’s means of shaping us, preparing us, disciplining us, loving us.

A merely Sweet Savior is ultimately incapable of helping us—and our children—in life’s most difficult moments.

I need a Savior who empathizes with my pain, but I also need a Savior who is strong to save—who has the power to defeat satanic influences in my life, who will overcome evil in the world one day.  In the end, the Sweet Savior merely feels bad for me but is helpless in the face of evil.  If we only show children, especially boys, His compassion, they may be tempted to think of Jesus as a wimp—certainly not someone worth giving their lives to.  And if we show only the “mean and wild” side, they may become merely arrogant and abusive.

In addition, showing children only the Nice Nazarene runs the risk of making them sentimental instead of truly compassionate.

They give evil a pass instead of confronting it boldly.  They become nice instead of loving.  To leave this dimension of a tough Jesus out of our spiritual education is to misrepresent Jesus, and that can only create crippled disciples.

Weak and timid children become adults whose lives are often riddled with relational havoc, whose spouses do not respect them.  This letter from a reader of my previous book, Married…But Not Engaged, shows how deadly lack of self-respect and respect are to marriages and how true marital harmony is created when a more assertive approach toward life is employed.

I just wanted to share with you the journey that my husband and I have embarked upon thanks to your book.

He failed to come through on his word to me about something, not something big, but still I was angry and felt let down.  In previous times, his apologies to me have mostly consisted of his begging for my forgiveness.  Although I love him with all my heart, I have, at those times, held onto my anger out of fear of being let down again and have not forgiven him straightaway as I should have done.

Last night, though, was so different.  With his characteristic sincerity, he apologized, took full responsibility for the fact that he had let me down, but he did not beg!  For the first time in our marriage of almost five years, I was able to admit to him that I felt I couldn’t express my anger to him for fear that he couldn’t handle it.  I was able to honestly express my feelings of anger.

At the same time, I understood from the calm, self-respecting way he was speaking that my usual withholding of forgiveness would be entirely useless.  He had apologized and was willing to make restitution, but he would not be manipulated—and his life was not “over” until I was happy with him again.