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Friday, March 12, 2010

Benefit of Doubt

THE AMERICANS MIGHT STRUGGLE HERE but the age-old game of cricket involves a principle of giving the benefit of any doubt during appeal to the batsmen. It follows usually in courts of law—innocent until proven (beyond doubt) guilty—and so it remains for love...

The principle of the benefit of the doubt it pretty simple I think. We can imagine what the costs are if a wrong decision is made.

In our earlier examples we have the batsmen given out and it starts his or her side’s crumble into defeat. The bowling side can get over the rejection of the appeal more readily than the batting side can get over the loss of a crucial wicket. In court, it would be better to send a guilty person away innocent than an innocent person away (to prison) guilty.

What if we applied the same condition to our relationships? Could they only be stronger, more robust and trust-enrolled as a result?

And this is faith. It’s having such love for our spouse, family, loved ones, friends, co-workers etc that we’d offer them the benefit of any doubt or misinformation or lack of information—assuming their good and not bad; their innocence and not guilt.

This is not an easy thing to do. It would require of us a decision of intentionality. It would require of us a plan to execute this change within ourselves—to more fully have faith in others—the extension of grace, indeed.

Due the earlier cricket and court examples, what are the costs of not extending the benefit of the doubt to the people we relate with? Could it be that when we exercise judgment we’re condemning where the costs for same are hardly bearable?

Could this explain the lack of trust in this world? We tamper continually with trust and respect and we end up with a compliant and joyless love everywhere. Hence, no one into such “love” enjoys their relationships, for there’s no inbuilt safety in them.

Issuing the benefit of the doubt—even warranting the possibility of hurt—can only extend for us and our important relationships, the grace that is most necessary for our relationships to not simply survive but also thrive.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

1 comment:

  1. When you have been through real trauma with a relationship it takes a while not to have built in safty nets in future relationships..Remembering the hurt and fear is something that is hard to get rid of...You have that "LAY IN WAIT thing"..Ok.... this is too good to be true.....When am I going to see how this person REALLY is....Hard to get over sometimes..because you are shocked to your core when those you are supposed to trust are totally evil and it comes out on you...in a rage...How can you trust again..Many people are going through this kind of trauma in relationships of the past which affects present relationships of distrust..I had a counslor blow up on me once..Grief counslor....And I was so kind to this person always..The person was going through trauma themselves so I knew that in my head. But my heart wondered how this person could continue ministering to people and get away with this kind of behavior....How could you ever trust another person to share your heart with if you can't trust a counslor? You can understand why a person would do this and forgive..but nothing was done to understand this behavior which in turn makes you distrust this person's leaders who she had to answer to....Sort of like a person who has been abused and tells the police and they are ignored or abused again by not wanting any trouble...Hard to trust authority figures after that....

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