Giving the Benefit of the Doubt

“Stop judging, that you may not be judged.  For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.  Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye?  You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5

Judging others was the passage I read while I was praying yesterday morning.  This passage always makes me stop and think about how I may be judging others.  I try so so hard not to judge others.  But at times I do struggle with this.  I have realized at times that when I am talking about something that somebody did, I am judging them.  It isn’t my intention to judge them, but it is a judgement.  I seriously hate that I do this.  Ugh.  There is always room to grow…

Anyway, while I was reading this it reminded me of a homily Fr. Cook gave a few Sundays ago.  He was talking about St. Joseph and how he reacted when he found out that Mary was pregnant.  Mary had been away caring for St. Elizabeth for a few months.  When she came back she had to have been showing that she was pregnant.  The angel had not appeared to St. Joseph yet.  St. Joseph must have been concerned for what had happened to Mary.  Mary was a woman of caliber and virtue.  He knew she wouldn’t have been the cheating type.  He must have believed she was innocent.  He still didn’t understand the fact fully, though.  And still, he was going to divorce her quietly.  He still wanted to honor her and not shame her.  St. Joseph gave Mary the gift of the benefit of the doubt.

The benefit of the doubt.  What a true gift that is to give to someone.  When someone is talking negatively about someone or something.  Rather than judging them for that give them the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe they are having a stressful day.  Maybe someone is treating them poorly.  I have no room to judge.  I can only love that person.

When I give someone the benefit of the doubt, I am seeing the good in their intentions and motives.  I am acting with mercy and righteousness as St. Joseph did.  I have plenty of room to grow in my own heart.  I have no room to judge anybody for anything.

Lord, thank you for your gift of love.  Help me to not judge others, but to always respond with giving others the benefit of the doubt.  May I always choose love to share with others.  May I never share judgment.  Lord, transform my heart, my thoughts, and my words to be full of love.

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