The Benefit of the Doubt

Assumptions….they can hurt.  And we all know what happens when we Ass-u-me.  Today I am thinking a lot about what happens when we assume, rush to judgment, fail to ask before we decide.  There is plenty of hurt in this world. Plenty of stereotypes.  Plenty of broken relationships.

What if we rushed to forgiveness instead of rushing to judgment?

What if in this season of generosity we gave the gift of the benefit of the doubt?  What if our assumptions of others was that there was no harm, no foul? What if we figured that the clerk that mumbled and asked for a price check three times was freaking out about getting enough hours this week to cover Christmas for her kids?

What if we assumed that our daughters were desperate to fit in, to look a certain way and that’s why they are less than thrilled with our suggestions on winter coats…not because they have a personal vendetta against us?

What if we assumed  the guy that is  cutting us off in traffic is  trying to get home to sick kids and a wife who has been cleaning up after them all day and he knows how tired she is not because he thinks you are an incompetent driver?

What if we just asked first. What if we listened more?  What if we said ” How can I help?”  What if we knew the whole story?

What if we gave each other the benefit of the doubt?

We might get hurt in return when our instincts prove right. We might have to come in second instead of first.  We might find out that we are the ones that need forgiveness. We might find out that most people are just trying to get life the best way they know how. Most people are actually more worried about their own lives than giving a second thought on ways to hurt you.

But, when we give the benefit of the doubt, we might find that there is a rich supply of joy.  We may mend what is broken.  We may move on from things without carrying the hurt with us for days, or weeks, or years.  We might find freedom.


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