Benefit of the Doubt
1 Corinthians 13:7 (NKJV), “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Thomas Inman, a surgeon from Liverpool, UK, recommended to his fellow doctors that they not prescribe a medicine if they weren’t positive it would help. They were to give their patient “the benefit of our doubts”. This phrase also has legal connotations meaning that if a jury has conflicting evidence that makes the jurors doubtful, they are to give the verdict of “not guilty”.
As Christians, we can apply this phrase to our relationships; we can give the benefit of the doubt to others. One researcher wrote about the phrase “believes all things”: “To see the best in others.” This doesn’t imply that love is gullible or short-sighted. What it does mean is that it is faith-filled. Love is not deceived, but love gives mercy; love believes the best. Love gives the benefit of the doubt.
When we hear something negative about others or we are suspicious, let’s not jump to conclusions. Let’s stop before we judge. That’s what Jesus did. To a prostitute, He said, “Your sins are forgiven.” To vacillating Simon, He said, “You are a rock.” Believe in the best.
Today as you go about your day, believe in the good. Be slow to believe the damaging news about others. Make a difference in someone’s life today by believing in them. Tell them to be encouraging.
God, may I be the voice of hope for someone today who needs unconditional love. May I set aside suspicions and extend love. Help me to focus on what You did for me and continue to do for me. Amen.