by Andrew Fuller
So many pains, hurts, feelings of rejection, destroyed friendships, and reputations destroyed by gossip can be avoided with this one principle…. assume the best. In many ways, this automatically enables us to show Christ love without really making a conscious effort.
Next time someone hurts or offends us we need to immediately ask our selves this question: “Why did they do this? Why did they respond in this particular way?” We cannot base our answer to these questions on an immediate gut response or assumption. We do not have to figure out the answer to this question every time, however it changes our focus from how we feel, to a concern for other person when we assume the best of them. By responding in this manner we show, love, forgiveness, and genuine care for the individual… a picture of Christ’s love for them. Sometimes the answer is obvious, sometimes its not. Even though these questions can reveal many things, they don’t have to be answered every time. Even if the questions don’t reveal an answer right away, we have automatically surrendered the situation to Christ and aren’t holding a grudge against them and we aren’t harboring any resentment toward them. It’s the heart behind the question
that is the key. We met the situation with forgiveness and a caring / loving concern about the other persons heart and life.
When people seem to be distant, closed, or seem to be ignoring others, frequently the answers include emotional pain and hurt in their heart, shame / feeling guilty, they are used to receiving harsh words or abuse, fear or uncertainty, feeling inadequate, or thinking we that will respond with offense as a result of their actions toward us whether it be recent or in the past.
With our friends and family, not thinking in this manner can easily result in someone feeling offended, hurt, or rejected, as well as opening opportunity for gossip by either person. This has the potential to degrade or even destroy the others persons name. In a family, whether it is between a husband and wife, between a parent and child, or between siblings, this can be a very useful key to sorting out (or even completely avoiding) many offenses, hurts and misunderstandings.
Think about this: by not assuming the best of others in a situation (and thereby solving the problem), we may tell others about our problems, (even when we need help). We are now spreading information about others that is in essence false or maybe a small and easy to overcome situation. Could this be a form of gossip? Lets say we operate on a strictly “need to know” basis and all else is gossip, if we were to ask this simple question, nobody else would need to be brought into the situation…(I am not saying counseling is wrong. I’m just pointing out the potential of how much could be solved without it)
Simply put, assuming the best and asking ourselves the question “Why did they do that”, often shows an answer that is something totally different than what we first assumed. Busyness and distraction are easy ones to see, but there are lots of others.