Saturday, June 6, 2015

The discipline of giving people the benefit of the doubt

Giving those around us the benefit of the doubt when their questions, words or actions irritate us is a discipline - because what we often want to do is to either judge their motives or respond in kind. As Paul says about the fruit of the Spirit: it is loving, peaceable, patient, kind, gentle and exhibits self control. Perhaps the last is the hardest. 

Why do we give the benefit of the doubt to others?

First, when we don't we run a real risk of being wrong about their motives. Why run that risk and complicate the relationship or make judgments about others that are in fact not true?

Second, the character of Jesus calls us to grace with others. I am so glad Jesus chooses to give me that grace on a daily basis?

Third, when others are irritating they are often acting out of frustration and the stresses of their own lives. A kind word and attitude in response can be a cup of cold water to a thirsty soul. Life is often not kind to people but we can be.

Fourth, we desire that others give us the benefit of the doubt so it is only right that we do the same. As a leader I am often privy to information that others don't have and cannot share. I am grateful when people realize this and are willing to trust me even when they don't have all the information. I have the same obligation to them.

Fifth, When we harbor anger, grudges and judgement in regards to others it is a burden on our own emotions. It robs us of our joy and colors our perspectives. Why live in that prison? 

Finally, as Jesus would remind us, the log in our own eye is more critical than the sliver in another's eye. 

TJ Addington of Addington Consulting has a passion to help individuals and organizations maximize their impact and go to the next level of effectiveness. He can be reached at tjaddington@gmail.com.


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