One of my favorite episodes of NCIS was on tonight. In the episode, Ziva must recount what happened to her before she was rescued by Tony and the team after she decides to stay in Israel instead of going back to the US. At one point, Gibbs is standing behind the one-way glass, looking into the interrogation room where Ziva is waiting for Vance. Ducky enters the room and a brief conversation happens between the two men. Ducky points out that what Ziva really needs is Gibbs’ love. Then, the following is said:
“Maybe it’s the tough kind.” – Gibbs
“You do realize there are other kinds, right?” – Ducky
How true is that? And how guilty are we of allowing ourselves to show the tough version of love? We say that tough love is good; that it helps create character and makes people stronger. We justify our lack of emotional attachment or our rough edges by saying that it is just tough love and that it’s okay in the end. But, what does tough love really do but create tough people we are trying to love? Tough love doesn’t create grace or compassion. Instead, tough love can simply build up walls that are even harder to break through in the end.
Instead of tough love, we are asked to be people who love without condition or without judgement. We are people who should give our love to the world easily and with joy; not teaching people that they have to earn our “tough” love. We need to focus on compassion and grace and peace, smoothing out the rough edges of other people’s tough love. We need to give our love, knowing it doesn’t always make sense and it may mean that we could be hurt.
Tough love is about earning love.
Our love should be about giving love.