That's why we need to extend grace and mercy toward one another. Over and over again we have to remind ourselves of Jesus vital words, "Treat others the way you want to be treated." (Matthew 7:12 … Follis paraphrase)
I heard a recent sermon on-line by an old Bible college classmate. He is a talented guy with graduate degrees aplenty and loads of experience. But in the sermon he went on and on about a certain behavior that was sinful. He ran it into the ground, basically shaming the listeners.
And I thought, "Good grief, man, back off." But then I thought, "Well, maybe I don't know the entire situation. Perhaps there's more to it than I am hearing. I guess I should let the cutting edge of my judgment be mercy and cut him the same slack I'd want him to cut me if he heard a sermon by me." (It still bugged me.)
People were even disappointing each other in one of my favorite early churches, the church at Philippi. Yep, they sure were. Paul says in chapter 4 verse 2: "Now I appeal to you Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement.." Maybe they did; maybe they didn't.
It take a lot of patience, a lot grace and a lot of understanding to give people with whom you disagree the benefit of the doubt. Indeed, it has occurred to me that some days I must be the toughest guy in the world to get along with.
Can there be deep sighing even as we give others the benefit of the doubt? Or are those two mutually exclusive?