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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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How to Receive Criticism

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brianhedges.jpgby Brian Hedges

Feedback has been called “the breakfast of champions.” Unfortunately, most of us have a hard time eating it. So often we misinterpret this feedback or constructive criticism as a personal attack, and in pride and anger, we counterattack in self-defense. What we could have received as positive stepping stones, we turn into stumbling blocks. How can we learn to receive personal criticism in a God-honoring way?

  1. Maintain an attitude of humility. This is the most important (and most difficult) thing of all. Probably every time we get offended at a critical word, the root of the problem (in our own hearts) is pride. Proverbs 13:10a says, “Only by pride cometh contention” (KJV).

I once heard a moving story of a godly pastor raked over the coals by a deacon. Once he had patiently listened to all of the brother’s accusations against him, he responded with something like this: “Brother, the case with me is far, far worse than what you have said. If you knew me better, you wouldn’t think so well of me. But as for the truth of God’s Word, I must be faithful to it and must continue to preach it to the best of my ability.” The humble response of the pastor broke the bitter heart of the deacon, who began apologizing. “Oh no, brother ________, there’s nothing wrong with what you’ve done! I’m the one who is in the wrong.”

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