Why can't I change myself?
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Q: I have trouble getting along with people. I try hard to be understanding but things people do and say irritate me. My mother told me that I can’t change others but I can change myself. I’ve tried but it is hard and I’m frustrated. — C.M.
A: A woman once wrote a letter describing how fortunate she was to have a kind, considerate husband. She then wrote four pages listing all his faults! How many marriages and other relationships grow cold and eventually are shattered because of faultfinding.
We should thank God for the people in our lives. It is so easy to take other people for granted or to complain and become angry because they do not meet our every expectation. But we need to give thanks for those around us — our spouses, our children, our relatives, and our friends. We must also grasp that we do things that irritate others in our circle of friends and family.
How do we respond to this challenge? Do we go out of your way to let others know we appreciate them and are thankful for them? The Christians in the city of Corinth were far from perfect, but the Apostle Paul began his first letter to them by thanking God for them (1 Corinthians 1:4). We should be diligent to thank God for others who touch our lives.
The Bible is the book of books and its pages are filled with examples of why and how relationships turn bad. It also tells us how to nurture friendship and overlook faults. God’s Word instructs us to pray for discernment and wisdom, and to respond to others with understanding and mercy. Patience graciously, compassionately, and with understanding judges the faults of others without unjust criticism, but in love. After all, this is what Christ has done for us and we are told to “follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
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