For a few weeks this summer we are looking at what Jesus taught us about the true secrets to living a happy life.

In the Beatitudes (Matthew 5), Jesus lays out eight standards for Christian living. You might call these the “8 Secrets of a Happy Life.” Everyone wants to be happy. But not everyone is eager to follow Jesus’ plan on how to find happiness. We need to pray and ask the Lord to help us live out these eight characteristics in our lives. The Beatitudes show us the way to be blessed and happy. They are also eight great things we need to pray become real in our own lives.

The fifth beatitude states, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” I think one of the big things to pray about on this point is for us to care enough about others that we dare to “walk in another person’s shoes.” Maybe if we truly understand them and what they are going through we might have more mercy and compassion. By nature, most of us are quick to judge and slow to forgive. Jesus calls us to be merciful and forgiving.

Being wronged by others is no fun. It hurts and is painful. But unforgiveness and bitterness are paralyzing. One great prayer we must pray for ourselves – and for others – is that we be quick to forgive, slow to hold on to bitterness, and diligent about showing mercy and compassion. Jesus says this is another secret to living a happy and healthy life.