Thursday, June 21, 2012

Assume the Best

Romans 7:15
Matthew 6:14-15
Choose forgiveness. Choose God's way of life.
One of the best reasons for forgiving others when they hurt us is the condition on the Father forgiving us for our own wrongdoing. Yet, another of the better reasons is our own human failures. We choose to do one thing and actually do another. If we recognize this reality in ourselves, why would we not allow others to experience life the same way? We need to assume the best of others simply because we want them to assume the best of us.
To make this more achievable for myself, I try to think of 1-3 positive things about each person I'm ready to criticize. So when someone is dressed immodestly at church I point out to myself that that person got out of bed early on Sunday morning in order to come to church in the first place. If a dress is too short I notice that the woman put a dress on rather than wearing sweat pants or shorts--in other words that she tried to dress a little nicer to honor the Lord. If someone cuts me off in their car, I remember the time we rushed my daughter to the hospital for stitches in her forehead and I don't know what circumstances might be causing the other driver to rush. For people I know better it is even more important that I assume the best. It would be easy to assume that someone's comment was meant to hurt as badly as it did, but the better path is to assume they were trying to communicate one thing to me and botched it. When my daughter is having a temper tantrum I need to give her grace for her tiredness and young age. When my other daughter doesn't obey right away I need to first check whether she even heard my instructions before assuming that she is choosing to disobey.
Sometimes people truly are trying to hurt us. Sometimes my daughters need to be disciplined for misbehavior. But I need to forgive regardless of the hurt and I need to start by assuming the best of others. I need to remember how difficult it is for me to avoid sin and acknowledge that other people have just as much trouble with it as I do.

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