Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Ol' Benefit of the Doubt Thing


Being a suspicious person is a full-time job. I know, I used to have that job.

Back in snail mail days if I didn't hear back from a friend for a few weeks, instead of giving them the benefit of the doubt, I'd suspect that something in my letter had upset them and now they were mad at me. Or that they were too busy too care about me anymore or that they'd heard something about me from someone and were purposely ignoring me.

Good grief.

Even now I must lecture myself if those thoughts creep in after I've not received email from old (or new) friends. I remind myself how, too often lately, it takes me eons to answer email. Or if an acquaintance drives or walks past me without a wave I remind myself how often I, with my aging eyes and preoccupied brain, have done likewise.Or should I receive a cranky email, comment, or phone call, I make choices not to be offended, but rather, to figure-out where the crankiness originated. It just may not be all about me.

Extending the benefit of the doubt, I've found, is like handing-out packages, presents wrapped around Grace or Hope or Forgiveness. It's like expecting the best and receiving it, only in a different form than you'd expected.

Giving the benefit of the doubt is like giving mercy and since I so need mercy for myself, I try to hand out much of it, keeping in mind the sowing-and-reaping thing. And well, keeping in mind the stress-related diseases thing, as well. Oh my... There's plenty of stress in this world without me creating more of it and then suffering for that bit I made because I could not extend the benefit of the doubt.

Now, if I can just remember that... my life may just brim over with even more peace.


***

"Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy." ...Matthew 5:7

"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..." ... 2 Corinthians 10:5

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