I made a joke to a man one time, and he didn’t laugh. It was not until sometime later that I learned the topic I made fun of was something he struggled with in his life.
I spoke with her about issues involving Church, and she was short, angry, and noncompliant. Later I discovered her marriage was falling apart and had reached the breaking point.
My conversation with her went completely wrong after an innocent question, and it left me mad and confused. The following week she told me about her struggles with depression and the lows she had been feeling.
There have been so many times that I have left conversations and encounters angry, confused, and resentful only to find out later that the person was profoundly hurting themselves. Often, we do not know the darkness someone is walking through in our casual encounters. Their lives may be a mess, and they hurt other people in their efforts to make sense of it all.
To be a Christian means that we treat people with the grace we have received. Sometimes we need to be reminded to give extra grace to the people who frustrate us the most. They are likely walking through something painful themselves. The old saying is that “hurt people, hurt people.” If that is true, then grace-filled people should meet these people with grace upon grace.