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Monday, February 25, 2019

The Benefit of the Doubt


Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
—Ephesians 4:32, NLT)


         Nothing has the power to create emotional turmoil as something that happens between friends who do not speak openly and honestly with each other about their feelings. Friendship is a gift, but it is a gift which requires work. If anything has any value, it is worth hard work. This work can be painful. It can be sacrificial, and sometimes brutally honest. The friendship that endures Satan's lies and life's pressures is a friendship that has been fired in the kiln of life and stands firm.  

         Friendship requires more than just one person working at it. Only one person trying to bridge a gap will never make a difference. Two need to share their feelings; two need to lay down their preconceptions; two need to be willing to listen. Friendship is only worth how much two people will work at it. If it lies dormant, that friendship will die. Open, honest, and even painful at times, that friendship can thrive. Real friends can share how they feel about an issue or something that has happened because they want to understand the reason.

         Do you feel betrayed by a friend? Do you know if someone has betrayed you, or do circumstances and gossip make it appear that they have? If you have heard that your friend has done or said something, there is a possibility that they might not have done or said it at all. Why would you immediately believe something or someone over the character of your friend? Never assume. Give your friend the benefit of the doubt. Always ask. Don't allow hurt to turn into bitterness because you never ask. Don't let a wall grow. In openness and sharing, without anger and harsh words, many times issues can be resolved. Remember always that "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Corinthians 3:17, NIV).

         Forgiveness means laying down feelings and listening. It means a willingness to face the hurt to understand. You might discover that what you thought happened never happened. You might find that the friend you thought had betrayed you defended you. You might see there was a reason for something that you never knew. Try to bridge the gap. You gain nothing if you don't try. After discussing things with your friend, if you still believe that a betrayal has happened, what are you going to do with it? Without forgiveness, you will forever be in bondage to your pain. We are to be kind and forgiving just as Jesus Christ forgave us. 

         The Grace of Jesus should always reign in our hearts. God created us with the need to be forgiven and to be forgiving. Forgiveness flows from Calvary. Without mercy, you will never survive. With it in your heart, Christ's love will flow continually, setting you free to experience a joyful and fulfilling life.

© 2019 Lynn Lacher
www.lynnlacher.com/2019/02/the-benefit-of-doubt.html

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