Believing the Best
“(S)he who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and (s)he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool.”~Brigham Young
Nerve sufficiently struck.
It is not my finest hour to admit I have a character flaw that makes me prone to being easily offended and I certainly don’t like being called a fool.
So, I’ll put my big-girl panties on and accept this self-recognition and elect to see this as a positive first step to change.
And change is good.
Truth be told I am an overly sensitive person. When I think back to recent occasions where I have succumbed to this negative emotion, I realize that it really is a choice that results in self-inflicted wounds. (Guess that is why Young calls it foolish.)
I inflict harm upon myself by either automatically jumping to a conclusion which presumes the worst about another person's motivations/intent or I give power to others who adversely influence my emotions and steal my joy. Both choices yield damaging results because I'm the one left angry and stewing in pain and self-pity.
In a world where we tend to focus on the negative and automatically assume the worst, it isn't always easy to respond to questionable circumstances in a happy-to-go lucky fashion.
Consider this little scenario:
Say you spend the day at the neighborhood pool and your family mysteriously has the entire pool all to yourselves. Right when you are drying off and gathering your belongings to go home, one of your good neighbors sends their kid out to ask if you are leaving. (Innocent enough question.) You respond, “Yes, it's been a long day, and we’ve got to head home.” Interestingly, the moment your troop clears the scene your neighbor and their kids rush out to the pool to enjoy the rest of the day.
Ok- how do you respond?
Who cares what they do? You don’t give it a second thought.
Do you automatically take offense and think they've been waiting for you to leave, so they don’t have to spend time with you?
Or do you give them the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to coincidence? Choosing to believe the best?
Truth time- my gut reaction is to think the worst immediately.
The Bible tells us:
“A person’s insight gives him patience, and his virtue is to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11 (CSB)
“Be kind and tender-hearted to one another, forgiving each other just as Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
Wonderful lessons that there is virtue in overlooking an offense, choosing to believe the best and extending forgiveness.
Thus, there is power when you choose to see the positive and believe the best in others.
And there is freedom in forgiveness.
I wonder, what would the world be like if we defaulted to always believing the best in others FIRST and then if proven otherwise, we choose to overlook the nasty hurt and forgive?
I think we would be much happier people and look a lot more like Christ!
Father, thank you for your great love and your generosity in providing us with the virtues of wisdom and patience. Help us to have the clarity to see the good in others and to believe the best before jumping to negative conclusions. We take comfort in knowing that you will right every wrong and can make anything that was meant for harm and turn it into good
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” ~James 1:19