He (the priest) is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and going astray…Hebrews 5:2 NIV
I am acutely aware that I am a much harsher judge of others than God is. He is so full of grace and mercy. Recently a friend stopped going to church because she kept having interpersonal problems with people in the congregation. This was a pattern and had led to some church hopping but now the decision was made to just not go to any church. I saw a real lack of forgiveness, a touchy sense of pride, and a shallow understanding of what worshipping in a church was all about. At the same time, tension within the family was cropping up due to resentment and hurt feelings. This woman needs to get her act together, I thought.
But God in his mercy and grace saw her differently. He opened up a way for her to minister in an unexpected way with some single adults. People from a considerable distance come to her house for fellowship nights. God was looking at her good qualities (hospitality, chattiness, a desire to know Scripture, musical abilities) and seeing how he could use those to benefit her and others. God isn’t into wasting people’s gifts even when there is sin in other areas of their life. God is gracious to her, God is gracious to me.