I write this letter with more sorrow in my heart than usual. The reason is that this is a lesson that I have had to learn over and over again throughout my life so far and will likely continue to learn.
There have already been too many times in my life where I was not wise enough to hear both sides of the story of a situation or to go to the source of information that was passed on to me. I suspect that it was out of fear and laziness that I have not always made the effort to verify information shared with me about a third person and the result is often hurt and/or loss of relationship.
I do not think that people are malicious or purposefully being false in sharing their experience of a situation with you, at least most of the time. However, we all have our failings and this often shows up when we describe a situation that was difficult for us, especially if we were hurt by another person. So remember, that while it is a wonderful thing to be a loving and listening friend, colleague, etc., you need to remain discerning and realize that you are hearing the story through the lens of one person’s experience of the situation.
There have been several times that I can think of in my life when someone I care about was hurt in some way by the actions or words of someone else I care about. In these specific situations I was far too quick to get caught up in the moment feeling the pain and perceived injustice of one side of the story. And so, without verifying the information or experience of the other side of the story, I took action on the situation. Looking back, these actions were wrong, or at least taken with the wrong motive and caused hurt to those involved. I still bear the heartache of some of these moments in life but by the grace of God I have grown since then and will hopefully continue to grow.
You will not be able to be perfect, so when you fail, take the opportunity to grow. And sadly, sometimes situations will end in hurt no matter how diligent you are in hearing everyone out. My hope is simply that you would have less heartache due to this than I have had, and that you would be able to look back on your life and see how, as far as it depends on you, you have treated people with love and understanding.