People say I'm a perfectionist, and I guess they're probably right. But I admit it gets me in trouble with people sometimes, because I'll see their flaws and try to correct them, and then they get upset with me. How can I learn to be more tolerant of people's flaws? — Mrs. M.G.
Has it ever occurred to you that your perfectionism—and especially your desire to correct the flaws in other people—might itself be a flaw (or even a sin) that needs correcting?
I realize this might come as a shock to you; after all, you probably feel it's not wrong to want people to live a better life—and you're right. But the problem is this: Behind your desire to correct other people's faults is a dangerous sense of pride and self-righteousness. In other words, you see yourself as better than they are, and you want them to become as good as you are. No wonder they get upset at you, for no one likes someone to look down on them—which is what you're doing.
There is another side to this problem, however: While you are quick to see flaws in others, you fail to see your own. Jesus warned, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? ... First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:3, 5).
We will never be perfect in this life—and yet God accepts us just as we are when we come to Christ. Have you opened your heart to Him? Do so without delay—and then ask God to help you to accept others just as He has accepted you.