Read Romans 15:7
7 Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. (NLT)
Having a small stone in your shoe makes walking difficult. The stone doesn’t have to be big, but a small stone can have a big effect. Nothing else can be properly done until something is done about that irritant in your shoe. It can be similar with an itchy insect bite or a speck of dust in an eye. Little things can become big things.
Apply this to other people. Some people have habits that irritate us. It can be the way they speak, the way they dress, the way they sit or walk. They may be basically good and decent people but they just get on our nerves. And of course the more we have to do with others the more irritants we are likely to discover.
This is where the biblical quality of forbearance comes in. We forgive the big and major and hurtful things. We forbear the small and the frustrating things. This is where acceptance of others is relevant. In our text, Paul is describing much more major issues which can cause discord between people. But the same principle applies in minor issues. God has accepted us, major and minor flaws notwithstanding. So who are we to deny acceptance to others?
And accepting or forbearing others is God honouring. It reflects his own character. And a Christian community in which loving acceptance is the norm is a great witness to others outside that community.
When it comes to having a stone in your shoe, it is a matter of removing the stone. When it comes to slightly irritating people, we don’t ‘remove’ them. We accept and forbear them.