Benefit of the Doubt

Benefit of the Doubt:  in choosing to believe or not to believe in something or someone, believing in the better of the various alternatives

 Everything being equal, giving someone the benefit of the doubt is strength of character. Randall Burkhalter

 It is easier to believe than to doubt. Gene Fowler

 Wise men, when in doubt whether to speak or to keep quiet, give themselves the benefit of the doubt, and remain silent. Napoleon Hill

 For those preferring to give someone the benefit of the doubt, they are more likely to be disappointed and get burned than those expecting the worse and making their decisions based on their expectations. At the same time, those who lean toward giving the benefit of the doubt are more likely to get rewarded because they were willing to take a risk and not make all their decisions based on doubt and low expectations.

     We tend to get what we think about and what we expect. “Think gloom and doom and get gloom and doom”. Thinking that someone is out to get us is likely to help create the conditions that causes such results to happen. There can be a fine line between being gullible and naïve and being willing to lean toward expecting that people will do what they say they will. We all have been taken advantage of by someone we believed and trusted. When this happens we sometimes want to believe we should be more suspicious and not willing to trust anyone we do not already know. It is easier to say “No” than “Yes”. Who can be trusted?

     Many say society has lost its trustworthiness. It is not wise to leave front doors unlocked, valuables in sight, car doors unlocked, expecting others to keep their word or allow kids to be out past dark. People even steal our ID’s. Most of us remember when such things were not the issues that they are today. Are we decaying, declining, and deteriorating into a lower form of humanity?  It is easy to think yes to this. If this is true what do we do about it? Our society is formed by individuals. In many ways, everyone influences everyone else. Perhaps we have too many negative influences and not enough positive ones. Maybe there are not enough positive examples and role models. We did not get in this situation overnight nor can we correct it quickly.

      Each of us has our role to play. Everything we say or do influences others. Our actions and reactions are always being observed. The momentum is in the wrong direction. More of us need to be willing to do good and right things. People need positive influences. Being willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt might be just one of those things. Sometimes we will get burned.

 Challenge: Are you willing to go a little further and give the benefit of the doubt more often? It does not mean that you need to throw caution to the wind and act carelessly and foolishly. Can you believe in the concept that if you raise your expectations of others, they will try to elevate themselves to meet your expectations? The more you can believe this is a valid concept, the more you can be someone who can be a good example to others.

 Wisdom: Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Marvin J Ashton

 Spiritual: (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Proverbs 3:5

 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

 It is so easy to have low expectations of others. It is easy to be distrusting and find reasons not to believe in them or trust them. As difficult as it sounds or may seem, we should not give up on others. God does not give up on us. If he had, where would many of us be? When we have love in our hearts we are able to have more trust in others and give them the benefit of the doubt. God will help us by giving us strength and the ability to do this.

 Prayer: Help me to overcome my difficulty in trusting others and to learn to have a more loving attitude.                                         



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