I desire to honor God in all I do – my writing included.
I feel led to share some of my struggles & what I’ve learned through them. I feel it’s important to say this – I write about my own journey, not those of others. Proverbs 27:9 tell us, ” The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” I share my weaknesses because there might be someone reading this who struggles in a similar area that I do. Perhaps some of the things I’ve learned will help someone else along the way.
So, here goes…
The Benefit of the Doubt:
1. to believe something good about someone, rather than something bad, when you have the possibility of doing either.
2. to decide you will believe someone or something.
I am by nature a trusting person. I am a positive person who can find the good in a situation. I give people the benefit of the doubt & I think this is a good thing. In fact, I have been told that one of the things people appreciate most about me is that I do this. We need to give each other room & not be quick to believe the worst in each other. I believe that people have good intentions. It’s hard for me to accept that someone would consciously choose to hurt another person.
The Benefit of the Doubt:
3. A favorable judgment given in the absence of full evidence
This is the definition that really struck a chord in me. There are times when I’m so focused on finding that kernel of “good” in a situation, that I miss the red flags. I’m so busy making allowances for questionable behavior or motives, that I don’t pay attention to the “evidence” that is right before my eyes. That’s not called giving someone the benefit of the doubt. It’s called making excuses. And the bottom line is – that’s just plain foolishness.
I have a hard time finding the line between giving someone the benefit of the doubt & making excuses for their behavior. I have a tendency to excuse a person’s cruel behavior because, as I said earlier, I keep coming back to, “How can they want to hurt someone?” But, there are people in this world who allow themselves to hurt other people & that’s not okay.
And if we continue to excuse away their behavior then we are enabling them further. I’ve seen myself time after time, excuse away their decisions, all the while convincing myself that I was giving them the benefit of the doubt. I would think, “They thought they were doing good” or “They didn’t realize how destructive their behavior was” and “We all make mistakes.” However, if we find ourselves continually having to do this, then it’s time to reevaluate. As hard as it is to admit, sometimes people do rotten things because that’s what they chose to do. They knew what they were doing was wrong from the outset & they chose to act anyway.
Does that make them rotten people? No. Does this mean we stop believing in the good in people? Absolutely not. I believe in assuming the best about a person until they show us otherwise. But, if they show us “otherwise,” we need to see it for what it really is & then determine the best of course of action. No excuses.
This is something I’m still working on. It’s something I continually pray about. I am asking God for wisdom & discernment in this area of weakness.
“I believe in your commands; now teach me good judgment and knowledge.” Psalm 119:66
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