the benefit of the doubt

I think our world has conditioned us against trusting others. Just look at television: all the time we're bombarded with storylines of unfaithful spouses, grisly murder, and embezzled funds. What has this mentality done to us as a whole? I think it's made us revert to mistrust first and faith second.

Gracious living is giving others the benefit of the doubt. How many times have we slipped up or miscommunicated, wanting in the end only for someone to not think we're the worst? Sure we meet people who are dishonest and sleazy; but what would happen if we issued an amount of trust before we judged? What would happen to our streets? To our schools? To our homes?

I certainly don't want to undermine the importance of informed and cautious judgment calls, but don't push out compassion for misgivings. In our homes, giving others the benefit of the doubt is most important. Yes, we get hurt by our loved ones most easily, but I really don't think that in most cases the hurt is intentional. Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt, place some genuine trust in your children. Because when people feel trusted, they rise. I really do believe that. 

Graciously giving those around us the benefit of the doubt espouses an attitude of optimism and may even help people see their own potential in a clearer light. We don't need to go around inviting strangers over for dinner, but we should live with more faith in others. Just imagine how wonderful the change could be.

This post is part of a 31-day series on gracious living. You can read the other posts here.

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