a good day to put on a different pair of shoes.
“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other’s faults because of your love.” Ephesians 4:2 NLT
We all know someone who is difficult to get along with. Perhaps it is someone at work, in our church, or even in our family. They may be viewed as stubborn, contrary, argumentative, or opinionated, and sometimes we are at a loss as to how we are to deal with them.
There are several things to consider here. First, we must consider the words spoken to the Ephesians by Paul. God will help us find the patience and love that can be required in quantities we do not think we have for dealing with some people. At the same time that we are praying for the strength, and patience to deal with them, we should also pray for them. It is never possible to know all that is going on in another person’s life. Perhaps there are reasons – even if we do not think they are good ones – for why they act the way they do. Of course, it is easier to discern if their demeanor is the result of some stress, tragedy, or loss in their life if their attitude seems to change suddenly. Whether their difficult nature is new, or whether it is just the way we have always known them, it is impossible to truly know another person unless we can put ourselves in their shoes.
There is another thing to consider: perhaps the difficulty lies with us. Hard though it may be to believe, sometimes we can become a little self-righteous and think that we understand life perfectly and the faults all lie with others. We must exercise extreme caution that we are not pointing a finger at someone else when Jesus Himself said, “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:4 NIV). Obviously we must all be aware that while it may not be difficult to observe what we think are ‘faults’ in someone else, it may be extremely difficult to admit that we have our own.
The best thing to do is to remind ourselves constantly that we are all human and we all require love, patience, and understanding. We must make an effort to stand in another’s shoes and see things the way they do before we try to offer our opinion on how we think they should do things, and we should also make sure to look within ourselves to see what others see in us.
Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson