THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT

“Perception is reality.” Everyday we all come into contact with people and these people bring with them their own viewpoint of the world. Their perception of the situation is reality to them; so if it isn’t reality, their viewpoint is what has to change. The Bible calls this having our minds renewed.

My mother taught me, as I was growing up, to see things from the “other persons” viewpoint. She understood how we all bring prejudices, past hurts and skewed opinions with us to the table. She wanted me to learn how to put myself in their shoes before I rushed to judgment. Isn’t this part of what we are called to do as a Christian?

The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 4:5 “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.” It seems the Apostle Paul understood what my mom was trying to teach me. We simply can’t make judgment calls on others motives. We may think we’re sure they are out to harm us, and on purpose even, but we have to learn to give them the benefit of the doubt.

C.S. Lewis once said, “But if you are a poor creature—poisoned by a wretched up-bringing in some house full of vulgar jealousies and senseless quarrels—saddled, by no choice of your own, with some loathsome sexual perversion—nagged day in and day out by an inferiority complex that makes you snap at your best friends—do not despair. He knows all about it. You are one of the poor whom He blessed. He knows what a wretched machine you are trying to drive. Keep on. Do what you can. One day He will fling it on the scrap-heap and give you a new one. And then you may astonish us all-not least yourself.”

Before anyone says, “Well, you’re just seeing others through rose colored glasses” let me say this, “Love hopes all things.” We are told to “Love God and love our neighbor as ourselves.” We all want everyone else to give us a break but it seems most of the time we aren’t willing to do the same for them. Apparently we think we’re right all the time and well, they should give me a break, after all it’s me you’re talking about here!

We want others to see how Christ has transformed us and appreciate the changes. We think they should see all the good things he has done in us and overlook those things we are still struggling with but for some reason we don’t do that for others. My prayer is we learn to see Christ in others in the same way we expect them to see him in us. I once heard discernment isn’t being able to see the faults and sins in others it is being able to see Christ in them. The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to see Christ in them over and above what we think is their shortcomings. This appears to the world as naivety but in truth it is the way God sees, and we are learning to see through his eyes rather than the world’s.

Written by Louie

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