by keb

On my way to work this morning, I heard an interesting quote:

negative ideas dominate

This statement was said in the context of health and medicine, where some people might speculate something negative about a procedure, and start to talk about it without any real scientific evidence – and then this negative idea spreads like wildfire. Soon, this negative idea becomes well known, and many people have to defend a procedure from this ballooning of the negative idea. And all of it just from speculation!

One of my main weaknesses has been judgement. I am a quick and harsh judge at times. And when I do it, the negative ideas which I hold begin to dominate my thoughts and feelings about that person.

I have been thinking all morning how this relates to Giving and serving others. The phrase “giving the benefit of the doubt” seems to keep popping up. To better understand what this really meant I searched the origin of the phrase:

When you give someone the benefit of a doubt, it means that any doubt about the truth or the correct interpretation of the facts lessens the fault that can be imputed to the party in question, thereby benefitting him by improving his case while weakening that of his accusers or opponents.

GIVING the benefit of the doubt. It is something we give to the “party in question” and ourselves. It does us no good to believe an ill report of another, and actually damages us and them when we believe and/or repeat the report. While pondering on this I remember another quote that I ran across yesterday:

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life, sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When we cease to judge others we extend to them mercy. While it is true, we can judge certain behaviors in and of themselves as right or wrong, we need to separate that from the person and the soul to whom it is attached.

One more quote that goes along with this (wow there are a lot of them in this entry!) that I heard years ago – I do not remember the origin – goes something like this:

Your name is safe in our house

This is my assignment for myself, to really live that last quote. To Give people safety with the words I speak about them.