Pray don't find fault with the man who limps
or stumbles along the road,
unless you have worn the shoes he wears
or struggled beneath his load.
There may be tacks in his shoes that hurt,
though hidden away from view,
or the burden he bears, placed on your back
might cause you to stumble too.
Don't sneer at the man who's down today
unless you have felt the blow
that caused his fall or felt the shame
that only the fallen know.
You may be strong, but still the blows
that were his if dealt to you,
in the selfsame way, at the selfsame time,
might cause you to stagger too.
Don't be too harsh with the man who sins
or pelt him with word or stone,
unless you are sure, yea, doubly sure,
that you have no sins of your own -
for you know perhaps if the tempter's voice
should whisper as softly to you
as it did to him when he went astray,
it might cause you to stumble too.
'Every man has his secret sorrows, which the world knows not; and oftentimes
we call a man cold when he is only sad.'
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow