Some parents raise their children with harsh authority, but wise parents exercise their authority with lots of TLC—tender loving care!

Paul and his co-workers, Silvanus and Timothy, were spiritual parents to God’s family in the Thessalonian church. Paul said, “We were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children” (1 Th. 2:7). And he spoke of exhorting, comforting, and admonishing them “as a father does his own children” (v.11). Like all Christian mothers and fathers, Paul desired that his spiritual children would grow up to reflect God’s glory.

Bible commentator Albert Barnes wrote, “Those who minister the gospel should be gentle, tender, and affectionate. . . . What is wrong we should indeed oppose—but it should be in the kindest manner toward those who do wrong.”

In other words, we are to hate the sin but love the sinner. That’s not easy, especially among those we know best. For author C. S. Lewis, it seemed impossible until he remembered: “There was a man to whom I had been doing this all my life—namely myself!”

Let’s apply that principle toward others today and rediscover the power of truth joined with tenderness.