Here’s the scenario: You new neighbor strolls down the street and you invite her in for tea, expecting to have a pleasant visit. While getting to know each other, she suddenly spills her cup all over your table.
What would you do? Would you create a scene, rant and rave and tell her she’s stupid? Ban her from your home forever?
I very much doubt it. On the contrary, you would politely mop up the spill, and as she’s professing her embarrassment at her clumsiness, you’d protest, “Oh no, don’t worry about it, it’s nothing but an accident. It could happen to anyone!”
Now consider another scenario. Perhaps you eat too much at a party or give in to a craving for a fattening chocolate dessert while on this new health kick. You begin telling yourself, “Gosh, I can’t control myself and probably never will. I’m such a failure at everything! I’m an absolute mess-up so why bother?”
Sound familiar? Why are we so kind to perfect strangers and yet expect perfection from ourselves? God doesn’t expect perfection, only obedience. Since God doesn’t expect perfection from us, we must learn to forgive ourselves and laugh at our mistakes.
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7 (NJV)
Tell me, what do you truly think of yourself? Write down all you’ve accomplished in life. As I told you months ago, the process is more important than the progress! Are you proud of your achievements? You individually, instilled new habits, developed self-discipline and made personal, positive decisions. You’re becoming more determined, healthier, slimmer and energetic every day!
Or are you still tearing yourself down? How I hope not! Remember no one else lives in your body but you and you haven’t given up yet, right? Even with a few mistakes, you are still progressing toward your goal. Congratulations!
If we were perfect human beings, Christ wouldn’t have had to come to save us. But we aren’t perfect so why do we expect it of ourselves? He’s commanded us to be kind to each other and telling our Lord that we don’t believe we’re worth it, is a slap in the face of God. How unkind is that?!
“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32.
Imagine you are sitting in a chair opposite you. What would you tell yourself if you made a mistake? How would you build individual self-esteem? Kindness starts at home, then branches out. You’re your child’s role model, he learns what he lives. If he sees you degrading yourself, (you’re his hero) what is he supposed to think about himself? Exude JOY and he’ll possess joy. Are our standards so high that it’s all or nothing? Is that the legacy we are leaving for our children?
If you were on a trip to Disney World and took a wrong turn, would you turn around to your children and announce, “Oh sorry gang, I made a mistake. Vacation’s over, we’ll have to go back!” No of course not, you’d find the correct road and continue on toward your goal of reaching Disney World. Keep your eyes on your long-term prize!
Likewise, we must learn to forgive ourselves, recognize that mistakes are simply a learning experience and get back on track. Going back to the party scenario, perhaps next time you’ll join a lively discussion, sit with your back to the food display and not give in. Or if you give in, you’ll take a disciplined walk to burn off the calories.
Repeat after me: “No food can ever taste as great as being successful FEELS!!” Place THAT on your fridge!