Jesus had many things to say about the Pharisees—those who sought to live out the letter of the law. One of them was to proclaim that he desired mercy, not sacrifice. (Matthew 9:13) He was pointing out that we are all imperfect, and must guard against focusing on the imperfections in others—a sure recipe for distance and damage in our relationships. Where do you need to practice mercy in your relationships? Who do you need to forgive for their imperfections? Try granting mercy instead of holding others to a standard of perfection.

Dr. David Hawkins is the director of the Marriage Recover Center where he counsels couples in distress. He is the author of over 30 books, including Dealing With the CrazyMakers in Your Life90 Days to a Fantastic Marriage, and Saying It So He'll Listen. Dr. Hawkins grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and lives with his wife on the South Puget Sound where he enjoys sailing, biking, and skiing. He has active practices in two Washington cities.