I’ve been thinking recently about assuming the best in people, about seeing each other as God sees us.
Maybe you make a mistake, and a friend chooses to give you the benefit of the doubt. They recognize it was a one-time thing, or take the time to step into your shoes and your circumstances. They refuse to take your actions personally.
Do you have people like that in your life?
People who know your mistakes don’t define you? People who understand that your heart matters?
And sometimes it isn’t even a mistake! Maybe you just can’t call back because you’re putting the kids to bed, or you say something awkward when you’re still getting to know someone (🙋🏽♀️🙋🏽♀️🙋🏽♀️).
Whatever the circumstances, I often find that the people who shine the brightest in my life don’t take offense where none is intended. They are patient and loving with me.
The Golden Rule
Shouldn’t I extend the same courtesy to others?
Honestly, I struggle with judgmental tendencies, but I’ve discovered that when I judge, it usually has more to do with me, than with my neighbor.
For example, if I’m feeling insecure about a friendship, I might judge my neighbor for not investing “enough”, or for failing to communicate some way other than “my way”.
Isn’t it ironic how that is more a reflection on me than on anything else?
In fact, I heard a story once that goes something like this:
A young couple had recently settled into their new neighborhood when, to the wife’s chagrin she looked out the window at her neighbor’s wash and exclaimed, “What dirty clothes!”
Her husband noticed her remark, but kept quiet. Yet, each time laundry day rolled around, his wife would shake her head in disappointment.
One morning, she was happily surprised to notice her neighbor’s wash was finally properly cleaned. She gasped to her husband, “Can you believe it?! Our neighbor has finally learned how to clean her clothes.”
Her husband replied, “Actually, dear, I woke up this morning and washed our windows.”
Do you ever find yourself looking through a dirty window? What if, instead, you chose humility? Gratitude? Enoughness? Love? What if you chose to assume the best?
When you choose to see the best in others:
- You make friends. People want to be around you!
- You worry less about what people think.
- You grow closer to Jesus, and you learn how to feel His love.
- You allow yourself to see the full picture before your emotions get the better of you.
- You exercise your agency in a way that opens up more options, rather than limiting them.
- You understand your individual identity, and grow more secure in who you are.
- You become the kind of person that others want to see the best in, too.
Worth it 🙌🏾.
But, what if offense is intended?
Let’s be clear. You have the right to remove yourself from situations that feel physically or emotionally unsafe, or even just not right for you.
But that doesn’t mean you have the right to look down upon another human being.
We are all broken.
For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.Romans 14: 9-10 (KJV)
And, when confronted with the woman taken in adultery, Jesus taught:
He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.John 8: 6
And He taught again:
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.Matthew 7: 2
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.Matthew 22: 36-40
So, perhaps, it isn’t black and white.
How do you exercise “righteous judgment”, while leaving the justice up to God?
I’ve often pondered this question. Personally, I’ve found it to be a matter of prayer rather than a step-by-step approach, but I would value your opinion 👇🏾.
In the meantime, here’s to having the courage to find those answers, and to love our neighbors well.