In writing several posts about love, I’ve poured over scripture and other literature which deal directly with the subject. One result of the search is that I have been much more aware of my own motives and actions with regard to love as well as the quality of love in my community. Here’s a question that I’ve been pondering and perhaps you should as well. Do I (you) tend to give the benefit of the doubt or am I (are you) critical, “judgmental”, prone to think the worst about the actions of others? If someone cuts me off in traffic are they a jerk who should then be tailgated or possibly someone legitimately distracted by a crisis or who didn’t realize how fast I was going.

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One of the most beautiful passages in the Bible is 1Corinthians 13. Verse 7 describes love like this. “It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It always perseveres.” It sounds like love gives the benefit of the doubt. Obeying Jesus’s command to “Judge not….” involves not being presumptuous about motives and assuming the best about the actions of others. For example: I’m telling my wife about a very difficult day and she seems distracted ….. uninterested .. totally lacking compassion …… like always ….. How do I put up with this? ….. Working hard but totally unappreciatedunappreciated ……  But maybe she’s legitimately distracted by an even harder day and I need to reverse course and find out what’s going on with her. Maybe I should have started by asking about her day.  It’s so easy, especially with those we are closest to, to assume the worst and cast judgement which is the opposite of love.

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Do you give the benefit of the doubt in traffic, at work, with family and friends? Remember: Love never fails!