You've heard it before: Nobody's perfect. All of us make mistakes…we all have personality quirks and need help in certain areas. The truth is, none of us have "arrived." We are all just a work in progress.
I like to say, "I'm okay, and I'm on my way." And this is true for everyone. If we are sincerely seeking God's will, then we are getting better every day, continuing to develop as individuals, becoming wiser and gaining maturity. But no matter how much we've grown, we still have shortcomings and faults. We will never reach a place in our lives where we no longer need the mercy of God.
Although we know we have faults, we must not focus excessively on our weaknesses, feel guilty about them, or allow them to stunt our personal growth. To enjoy everyday life, we need to take a gracious, merciful approach to ourselves and to others. We need to give ourselves—and the people around us—a break.
Have you noticed how badly some people treat others these days? As I walk through a grocery store, coffee shop or restaurant, I am shocked at the way people treat each other. Their comments and interactions are often full of judgment, criticism, and very strong opinions. I rarely observe or overhear people who are encouraging, forgiving, or complimentary anymore. People with short fuses are abundant, but long-suffering, or patience (a fruit of the Holy Spirit), seems to be in short supply in our society. (See Galatians 5:22.)
I believe a lot of this criticism and lack of grace and mercy come from the fact that we want ourselves and others to be perfect, and we want our relationships to be perfect too. We often have unrealistic expectations, and that sets us up for disappointment.
Where personal interactions are concerned, the prevailing message of our day seems to go something like this: "If you suit me perfectly, if you never make mistakes, if you always treat me just right, I will like you, love you, and accept you. But if you make any mistakes at all, even if I let you stay in my life, the very least I will do is let you know you made a mistake, because I certainly wouldn't want you to think you're getting away with anything!"
The problem with that attitude is that it's completely unbiblical. If we want to enjoy life and relationships, we need to live by the truths and principles in God's Word. His Word does not teach us to be hard and demanding with others, but to be kind, compassionate, patient, and gracious. God is extremely merciful toward us.
All of us need mercy…every single day. Sometimes I wonder how many times God shows mercy to us without us ever knowing it, or how often He overlooks our faults and mistakes—and doesn't even call it to our attention. More than we realize, He blesses us when we don't deserve to be blessed and gets us out of trouble or saves our lives. God is merciful. Do you realize that mercy is actually part of His nature? He continually offers it to us and in turn, we need to continually extend it to others.
Learning to love unselfishly, by giving those around you a break, will enable you to enjoy life to a much greater extent. I encourage you to put aside any selfish thoughts and behaviors you may have and seek to be content with yourself, your possessions, and the people with whom you have relationships.
Decide to be satisfied and content with the people in your life, and don't demand that they change to make you happy. Be gracious, be merciful and give people a break—and you'll find yourself enjoying life and people more than ever.
Author/teacher Joyce Meyer has been helping people overcome life's problems through biblical keys to practical Christian living since 1976. Her radio and television programs are broadcast throughout the United States and much of the world. For additional information, you may contact Joyce Meyer Ministries at P.O. Box 655, Fenton, Missouri 63026 or visit www.joycemeyer.org.
© 2007 Printed with permission of Joyce Meyer Ministries