“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” - Titus 3:3
We often tell ourselves or we tell others to put yourself into someone else's shoes. This is good advice. From the viewpoint of an outsider, someone else’s actions, emotions, thoughts can seem irrational, foolish, and incomprehensible. We can quickly become discouraged and disheartened by the choices people make in their lives. Putting ourselves into the shoes (mindset and life circumstances) can help us help them more.
Paul, when encouraging Titus, and subsequently his readers, to be gentle, not quarrelsome, and courteous towards all people, he gives very similar advice. His advice is to remember that they were in those shoes before. They were foolish, disobedient, and slaves to their passions. By remembering that they were like that and that God saved them, they should be able to look past those problems in order to help their souls.
We too can have the same mindset. We have been in others’ shoes. I can show compassion to the lost because I know what it is like to be adrift without bearings and hopeless. I can be patient with others because I know what it is like to need patience shown to me. I can be long suffering because I have been wrong and hard headed and needed time to have my heart softened. Perhaps if we are going to step on people’s toes, we might want to step in their shoes first.