The first lesson I learned in playing baseball with the St. Louis Cardinal old-timers is one of the best things I've ever taken in. We flew to St. Petersburg, Florida (then the Spring Training facilities for the Cardinals) and boarded a charter bus to the complex. The director of the camp got on the bus microphone and said, "You are now going to learn to refrain from being so critical of professional ballplayers because you are about to experience the expectation upon you to produce in the game while playing hurt." He said that fans have no idea how much pain the players endure. He went on to say that what fans don't know when a hitter goes up to the plate with the bases loaded is he, too, may be worrying about anything from family issues to battling an infected toe.
It didn't take long to realize why this first lesson was the first lesson. After one day of workouts, the following morning in the locker room I could see my shoes but needed help tying them. My aches had pains!
This lesson transfers to where we live. Take a good look at the people around your office, etc. Note that many are playing hurt. Some are limping and others distracted. They don't need our criticism. They need our support and encouragement. Things may not be good at home or were abusive in their childhood or maybe stressful in the area of health or finance. People are going through life injured; they are playing hurt.
So it is in the church. Full of attitude? Lack of productivity? Whether an elder or a preacher or a member, they may be playing hurt. Maybe our mercy and love will help them heal a little sooner so they can begin to hit home runs in the greatest arena....the kingdom of God.