Personally speaking, I find it much harder to give correction than to receive it! This may sound crazy, but it is the truth. Being a Christian and learning to love the brothers and sisters around us, means that we have to learn to do both of the above.

We must remain open to correction if someone challenges us about a fault in our lives. This means that we should not get ultra-defensive every time that someone challenges us. Yes, defend what you have done or been accused of doing if that is the appropriate course of action to take. However, if you are guilty as challenged, then learn to humble yourself and admit your guilt and repent of it!

Likewise, a part of learning to love those around us involves being able to challenge them if they are falling into sin in their lives. We do not challenge from a position of superiority or in a judgmental way. We should always challenge a person in love. This means that our motive must be care and love for the other person and not just a desire to be righteous for righteousness’ sake!

In 1Corinthians 13 St Paul teaches us about the true nature of love. In so doing he reminds us that if we act, no matter what our action may be, without love, then it becomes a worthless act insofar as growing in virtue is concerned – we are like a clashing of cymbals and a gong booming. I am sure this is not what we want to be! Let us then seek to love in the way that Jesus has loved us.

Learning how to receive and give correction can take a long time. Yet, we cannot afford not to do this as it is an essential part of learning how to love the brothers and sisters in our immediate communities. Learning ‘tough love’ is something every parent has to do in order to discipline his or her children. They discipline because they love them and want them to learn and grow in holiness and righteous living. Similarly, we can help one another to grow in the Lord if we are willing to care for one another through correcting and receiving correction form each other.

How well do I receive correction from those around me? Do I always find myself arguing with the person who corrects me even when I know that they are right? How can I learn to grow in this aspect of my life?

Holy Spirit, teach me how to both receive and give correction in the way that Jesus wants me to do these things. Help me to learn the way of tough love so that I can contribute more fully to my own Christian community.