Give Other People a Break (365 Days of Daring Faith — DAY 337)
James 3:17 (NLT)
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.
We live in a far from perfect world among far from perfect people with a far from perfect self. What most of us need to learn to give and to receive more than judgment, hatred and criticism is love, kindness, and mercy. It isn’t because we deserve it or because we feel other people deserve it but because that is what we need, and it is wise to give people what they need to get through life.
The Bible says that wisdom is “full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds.” In other words, it is wise to extend grace and mercy to people when they fail, when they have faults, when they act on their vices and impulses, when they make mistakes, when they don’t follow through or live up to their word. Why? Because we all can relate to failure. We know what it feels like to give in to our weaknesses and our worst vices and impulses. We feel bad when we don’t follow through or live up to our end of a deal.
We all can also relate to seeking and finding mercy, grace, and forgiveness. God is the most merciful person in the world and that’s one of the reasons He is also the wisest. Any time I pass judgment, criticize, and don’t allow people to explain themselves, I am not being like God. I’m not being merciful. It is wise to give people a break because God gives us a break all the time. If God gave us what we deserved, we probably wouldn’t be living right now.
It is easy to nag and get upset when other people make mistakes, even when they do something that is totally out of character for them. Sometimes we tend to characterize and define people by their failures. Every time we see them or think about them, all we can do is think of the one or two things they’ve done wrong. When we see them, we begin the conversation with “Remember when you did…”
God doesn’t do this to us, and we shouldn’t do it to others. The right thing to do is to forgive. Don’t emphasize other people’s mistakes. Don’t keep the spotlight on other people’s failures. Give them grace to grow and space to improve. Stop trying to change people and expecting them to be perfect. Show mercy. Show grace. Give them a break because God gives us a break way more than we deserve.
“Forgive, forget. Bear with the faults of others as you would have them bear with yours. Be patient and understanding. Life is too short to be vengeful or malicious.”
— Phillips Brooks