The word “but” indicates some kind of exception. Time and time again. And perhaps if that’s the way we say it, then there’s actually a little bit of revelation of our own hearts in that. Perhaps we think, down in the dark places of our own hearts, that any prohibition is an exception to love rather than an outflow of it.
We tend to think of prohibitions as exceptions to love.
The easiest way to see this is through our parenting. Think about it like this – you have a child that, for whatever reason, has an affinity for the street. No matter how many times you’ve told him not to run out into the street after the dog, or the ball, or the squirrel for crying out loud, he doesn’t listen. Something catches his attention and off he goes. And time after time, you go and grab him and then sternly tell him not to go out into the street because it’s dangerous to do so at his age. You are, in other words, giving the child a prohibition. It’s a prohibition that probably makes your kids upset because, after all, he loves to run out into the street. And maybe that prohibition sounds something like this:
“Buddy, I love you, but you can’t keep running out into the road!”
Of course, you love your son. And the prohibition is not an exception to your love; it’s an outflowing of that love.