We’re talking about mercy this week over on the LCLC Facebook page. Mercy probably isn’t a word we use a lot in daily life. Yet the need for mercy is all around us.
- That person in the 10-Item Express lane in front of us with fifteen items? She needs mercy.
- The child who neglected to start the dishwasher, leaving you without a clean coffee mug this morning? He needs mercy.
- Did you miss a deadline, or offend a friend (or spouse!) with a careless comment? You need mercy, too.
It can get really personal, this need for mercy. Here are five ways to show yourself mercy.
1. Accept your faults.
It can be very damaging (mentally, emotionally, and physically) to maintain a state of frustration, anger or unforgiveness towards oneself. Remember that God has forgiven you through Jesus. If God has forgiven you, you should extend mercy to yourself while you continue to grow and overcome.
2. Don’t give up hope.
It’s tempting to declare failure and decide, “This can never change. I’ll always be this way.” But just because you have struggled with a sin or failed at a relationship for a long time doesn’t mean things cannot change. Give yourself another chance.
3. Give yourself a break.
If you’re feeling like you don’t deserve anything good because of your failures, don’t believe it. Stop pushing away the love of others, stop denying yourself a day off, stop punishing yourself. God loved you and gave His greatest gift to you before you ever qualified for it. If He thinks you're worth it, you are.
4. Let it go.
When something isn’t right, it’s tempting to keep pushing hard to fix it. Remember that Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you, and I will give you rest.” Put the problem in God’s hands and trust Him with it until He brings it up to you again.
5. Appreciate your good points.
Thinking about your successes can lead to pride, but when you need mercy it’s a good time to rehearse the things you’ve done right. Are you a good friend? A reliable employee? Did you show up for someone when they needed you? Thank God for the times you got it right, and next time you look in the mirror, give yourself a smile.