Peace family, where can you extend grace today? Where can you choose to believe the best in people? What groups of people, or individuals, can you choose to treat with value? There are some great benefits to giving people the benefit of the doubt!
Sometimes, it can be easy to not give people the benefit of the doubt. They forget to text us back, so we start suspecting that they actually don’t like us. They make a mistake at work, so we assume that the mistake happened because they are doing something that we told them not to do. They cut in front of us in traffic, so we assume that they are a jerk who doesn’t care about anything but themselves. Does any of that sound familiar? But what if they didn’t text back because their phone died, they made the mistake because they’re exhausted from a family illness, or they drove badly because they were having a medical emergency? There are so many opportunities to extend grace and give others the benefit of the doubt, every day!
I’ve been thinking about the way that our perception of others can make a huge difference in how we treat them, or the feelings of peace and well-being we can have, versus the anxiety and frustration that we often put onto ourselves. One example comes from a big blessing that I experienced this past Friday. I had registered to run a half marathon in December to benefit Mercy Project, and I was supposed to raise $350 by Friday. I hate asking people for money, and I had no idea what I was going to do, other than publishing a general message about my need on Facebook. I prayed that God would provide for me, but to be honest, I didn’t really expect to be fully funded; I figured that I would end up having to cover the donation with my own pocket. However, before the deadline, my friends came together and sponsored me (some of them with very large donations,) and I even had a few people who sponsored my run anonymously!
This might sound silly, especially compared to other current areas where we need to give people grace, but it really got me thinking, and feeling blessed and encouraged. As I thought through who all possibly could or would have donated anonymously to my run, whether I thought it might be someone who really likes me more than they want me to know, or someone who has treated me badly donating out of a secret wish to make things better, it filled my heart with a generosity towards everyone, believing the best of everyone around me. I found myself more forgiving of people who’ve hurt me (what if they were the ones who gave?), feeling more supported, and feeling more loved and able to love well. Peace family, I still have no clue who made the anonymous donations, but everyone has benefited from the attitude in my heart!
A lot of times, we believe the worst about people. We don’t understand how they think, or why they make certain choices. We can also believe the worst of people, and look at others with suspicion, because we believe the worst about ourselves, and the worst about God. Instead, remember who you are today; you are made in God’s image, and you are loved by him. Remember who your enemies are; they are made in God’s image, and they are loved by him. Finally, remember who God is. He is not who society, culture, or sometimes even church people say. He is who he is, and the best way to know him and what he wants, is to read the Bible and know what he says.
Be encouraged today, Peace family. Let’s turn our focus back to God, work to understand others, extend grace, and give others the benefit of the doubt.