1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs not itself, is not puffed up,…
Who is not acquainted with people who are expressing unfavourable opinions of others and, without any apparent concern about the consequences, look upon everybody with suspicion? and a very small circumstance is to them a sufficient indication of insincerity or wickedness. The soundness of your faith they question because you happen to differ with them in some unimportant matter of opinion. Your worship may be as hearty and as spiritual as their own; yet, because you do not conform perfectly to their ritual, you are denounced as a Romaniser or a schismatic. They judge all by their own standard, measure all by their own iron bedstead, and make no account of the modifying influences of education and society. Even the fatherly chastisements of Divine Providence they misinterpret; and, like Job's miserable comforters, pronounce the metal spurious because it has been submitted to the furnace. If the motive of an act is not perfectly obvious, they are apt to give it a bad construction, though a good one were quite as easy. A general remark is made in company, and some one present thinks it applicable to himself, and forthwith angrily appropriates it, though the speaker had no more thought of him than of Julius Caesar. Absorbed in meditation or conversation, you unconsciously pass an acquaintance in the street without speaking to him, and the casual oversight is set down against you as an intentional incivility. I recollect once to have given lasting offence by failing to recognise on the instant an old friend whom I had not met for many years, though I was never in my life more innocent of unfriendly intention. On another occasion I incurred the displeasure of a lady by my inability to identify her behind a veil, which rendered her face as invisible as the moon in a total eclipse, and the crime I believe was never forgiven. Censorious people commonly see motes in others' eyes through beams in their own, and none are more to be suspected than those who are always suspecting their neighbours. Their knowledge of human nature is obtained at home, and their fears of you are only the reflected images of their own, evil hearts. They resemble the surly mastiff, that sidles growling toward the mirror, mistaking his own likeness for a foe. Full of evil surmisings, they cannot afford to suspend their judgment and wait for explanation or evidence; blot, impelled by the bad spirit within them, they rush blindly to the bench and thunder forth their anathema against the supposed delinquent. How eagerly they take up an evil report, and how industriously they circulate it! Hearing a vague rumour, than which nothing is more uncertain in such a world as this, they believe without a particle of evidence, and never take the trouble to inquire into the grounds of the suspicion; but roll the delicious slander as a sweet morsel under their tongues, and feed on the imaginary imperfection of their neighbours with the zest of a vulture upon the slain.
(J. Cross, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,