We do a lot of injury to others when we don’t give them the benefit of the doubt.
Women especially are prone to negative assumptions, and we are most often wrong. It’s the worst kind of battle, because it is a silent one in which the victim is unknowingly being accused. I used to be prone to jumping to conclusions until I realized that it was only causing strife in my own spirit and wrongly labeling someone else. There could be a dozen logical reasons why that friend was grimacing in your direction-a headache, a thought about forgetting the serving spoon at the church potluck, or needing their glasses, not necessarily anything to do with you who happened to witness the look on her face.
We do this with our kids sometimes too.
Sure enough, three steps into the living room and the wet gooey substance rises up between your toes. Is your first reaction anger, an immediate accusation that one of your kids was being careless and purposeful in making a mess? Do you fly off the handle, or address the problem with self-control? As parents, we need to calmly investigate and get to the root of the cause without being scathing in the process. I’m trying to make it a habit to think the best about others and to assume that their intentions are good. It’s called being slow to anger, setting your mind on things above, and choosing to offer patience and kindness as a first response. Imagine if we all embraced a gentler kind of mindset.
Philippians 4:8 sums up what our thought life should exemplify:
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
It’s the same kind of attitude my 3 young sons extend to me on a daily basis. They always believe that I am their loving mother, ready to hug, be their cheerleader, and provide comfort. They never think I have some ulterior motive or am out to condemn them. I’m hoping that others will see me in the same light, being benevolent in their thought-life and giving me grace.
YOUR TURN! How do you find ways to believe the best about others? What things are "true, pure, honorable etc." about your family and friends that you can focus on today? What part of today's post blessed you? I love to hear from YOU!
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory. Psalm 115:1
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