New Oxford American Dictionary says, “promotion of a person's welfare, especially that of an addict, child, or criminal, by enforcing certain constraints on them, or requiring them to take responsibility for their actions.”
I am not sure how a child is on par with an addict or a criminal, except maybe that childishness is common to all three. To show tough love is to speak very directly to what the problem is and possibly to put restrictions on the one you love. It may seem cruel at the time, but tough love is intended to save them from worse suffering in the future.
Consider two guys that are very close and can be frank with each other.
Tough love… it skips all the rules about being nice. The directness is intended to get to the heart of the matter.
When we say that Jesus loves you, we should add Jesus tough loves you, too. He knows when to speak tenderly and move your heart toward faith. The Lord also knows how to tell you off for having a wicked heart. I wonder how open we are to that voice?
There were many who heard Jesus speak and thought him to be the Devil. Do we sometimes get the voices mixed up? It’s possible to neglect the directness of Jesus’ words because we expect him to have nice manners, coddling and cooing with us like you would with babies.
Jesus tough loves you.