The Benefit of the Doubt

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The Benefit of the Doubt

Good intentions. There is a proverb that says the road to hell is paved with them.

I’m not so sure of that, but I’m quite sure that as humans we tend to moralize and justify our actions to ourselves. Phrases like “She meant well” or “He had good intentions” don’t always line up with our behavior.

I love words and the walls of my house often display all manner of proverbs and verses to encourage and remind. However, I cringe when I see the sign that declares “Follow your heart” and that sentiment will never adorn my home. It matters not how many lovely images are attached, the message is frightening because I know this truth all too well:

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
Jeremiah 17:9 NIV

The New Living Translation translates the second half of that verse like this: “Who really knows how bad it is?” Honestly, the brief glimpses into the darkness of my heart leave me desperate for the transformative work of the Word of God, by the Spirit of God and the GRACE of God.

Is it any wonder our interactions with one another are at best awkward and at worst misunderstood and hurtful even among friends and family members? Social media has only fanned the fire with moment by moment updates.

What if we agreed to choose kindness? What if we delay our reaction by putting our phones down or choosing to recall the things we KNOW to be true about our relationships?

The easiest and best gift you can offer this week is the benefit of the doubt.

“To give someone the benefit of the doubt is to default to the belief that their intentions are honest and not assume malice when there is uncertainty or doubt surrounding the circumstances.” [i]

It’s not easy; I know that. But I have so much invested; there is much value in relationship and until there is a pattern of behavior, a body of work that proves ill intent, I’m going to avoid following my hurting heart and choose to believe the best about these precious souls.

Letting it go,

lorraine

[i] Urbandictionary.com

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