The conviction of the Holy Spirit was indelible. It went like this: two opposing ‘gospels’, but that which complement one another. Let’s say one is preached by Paul Washer or David Platt. The other is preached by Joel Osteen or Rob Bell.
One gospel for me. Another gospel for others. The hard gospel — the way of Paul Washer and David Platt — is for me, and for you, along our personal discipleship journeys. The softer gospel — the way of Joel Osteen and Rob Bell — and this is not meant as any judgment or innate criticism against their work — is for us in our approach with others. We hold ourselves to hard standards that compel us to be humble. And we do not hold generic others to account at all; they are offered our kindness and compassion. And in holding ourselves to high, hard standards, with the love of God coursing through us, we experience His kind and compassionate Presence, and that encourages us — we do not look for praise, understanding or appreciation from others.
The only exception is for guiding people along discipleship journeys — then we will need both approaches, but always moderated by grace.
Then we will need hard approaches for challenging and soft approaches for encouraging those in our charge.
I guess my point is this: our lives tend to be characterised by us being easier on ourselves and harder on others. We minimise our errors and flaws, whilst getting upset with others about theirs. Yet, Jesus called us to the practice of getting the log out of our own eye. He called us be hard on ourselves and easy on others. Yes, Jesus requires that we be especially kind and compassionate about others’ errors and flaws.
Life goes better when we go harder on ourselves and go easier on others. It’s called humility. It’s also how we vouchsafe success, command respect, and show leadership.
The best relationships feature people able to own their stuff who also have the capacity to overlook offense.