Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Benefit of the Doubt

It's a phrase we don't hear much these days, but it's certainly a concession that packs a beautiful, powerful & humble whallop.

What does it mean to confer such a doubt-filled benefit upon someone?  Upon one's self?

First of all, it's a noun - concrete & exact, like an apple or the ocean.  More than a phrase, it's a state of mind or - rather - of heart.  It's a judgement, and it's exact meaning goes something like this:  a favorable opinion or judgment adopted despite uncertainty.

It has the power to dash gossip & unhinge juries.  It makes way for mercy & fresh starts.  It confounds the certain, and it certifies the counfounded. 

When was the last time you felt free to grant someone, or yourself this reprieve; the benefit of the doubt?

I have always found that mercy
bears richer fruits than strict justice.
~Abraham Lincoln

The glory of Christianity is to
conquer by forgiveness.
~William Blake


Denise said...

I am always inspired when I visit your blog, bless you.

Shirley said...

A good one to think about

Sonja said...

Perfect! What a good word to end this day. I will come back and read this one often!! It's the heart of what grace is, mercy, forgiveness... just what we have been given, and now must give...

Once again, your comments on my page made me smile out loud!! :)


Saleslady371 said...

I like this phrase and yes, we should make good use of it just for the reasons and quotes you propose.

P.S. Let's go sand surfing sometime.

Just a little something from Judy said...

Profound, absolutely profound! This should distinquish us(as in God's children)from the world in general. Sadly, I think it is missing often. How quickly we forget the extreme amount of grace and mercy shown to us, and to me. Those two quotes will go in my files, because they are crucial for me to remember.
Your blog is like a breath of fresh air for me and always so timely. The "word verification" needed to comment on your blog today is "tonic". How very appropriate:)

Deborah Ann said...

God's grace is a beautiful thing, isn't it? So often we judge and criticize, when in fact God is far from that...Good word today!

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

good word! and I just love your blog look! it is gorgeous!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I suppose, I'm not a "benefit-of-the-doubt" giver. My husband is much better at this... one of the reasons I need him so very much in my life. I wonder how many have offered me the same without my knowing it?

This brings up a memory, albeit a painful one...

I remember, as a teenager, being accused of trashing a girl's locker which happened to be next to mine. Horrible things were written on her door, things I would never write. My name had also been attached to the notes, etc.--I suppose I was the obvious choice since my locker was located next to hers. I was called into the principal's office (in high school) and questioned thoroughly. In addition, my parents were called which, in turn, led to a thorough questioning of me once I got home.

I kept pleading my innocence, but I don't think my parents (at least initially) believed me. It still stings a little not to have had their confidence at a point in my life when I so desperately needed the benefit of the doubt.

I don't know why I'm divulging all this right now, but I immediately thought about it while reading your words. Perhaps there's more work to be done; perhaps I need to remember this the next time one of my cherubs comes pleading his/her case!


Beth E. said...

Shew, girl, I've been away from blogging for too this post. I have to admit, though, that my vocabulary has suffered as a result of my absence. CONFER??? Time to dust off the dictionary!

Being a parent is tough, at times, especially when deciding whether to give one of my sons the benefit of the doubt. I didn't always make the right choice, but whatever choice I made helped me to grow as a parent. Guilt trips were many, until I learned to give myself the benefit of the doubt, too. :-)

Big hugs....

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Our pastor recently spoke on doubt..not giving the benefit of a doubt to someone, which I so need to do more of, but how each of us as Christians come to points in our life that we doubt.

You always leave me thinking..thanks for the mental gymnastics

Kay said...

Aren't we all in need of mercy and fresh starts....daily?! : )

myletterstoemily said...

think how precious life would be with 'the
benefit of doubt' floating in and out of
each relationship?

"praise the Lord, o my soul, and forget not
all his BENEFITS." psalm 103:2

Andrea said...

Kathleen, you always challenge me to think deeply and to examine myself thoroughly! I am so moved by the mercy of our Father, and Lord, help me, I must stay aware of my responsibility to show His mercy to others.

Your words help me realize the powerful responsibility that the Lord places in our hands by giving us the ability to extend His love and mercy, rather than only judge and scorn.

Thanks so much! So beautiful, eloquent, and wise are your words.


Peggy said...

Benefit of the doubt-that's a good one to ponder on. As your posts always are. Thanks!

Sarah (Nikki) said...

this makes me think....thanks.

rcubes said...

How I love to be reminded that our merciful Savior, deemed me "not guilty" and went way far to prove that...His death on the cross! But wait...He rose again and shared His promise of eternal life to those who believes in Him!

Despite the wretchedness, He always sees the best in us! As I go through a tough battle, I think your post is reminding me to give those who offended me and continue to do so to always give them the "benefit of the doubt"...Thank you for your encouragement always, either here or when you visit me. May God's mercy, love and grace always sustain you.

LisaShaw said...

Oh this is rich dear friend. I use this phrase and just did last week Tuesday when faced with a situation.

Thanks for sharing!

Much love!

Gwendolyn said...

Amen! Watch for my post tomorrow.

Blessings, Gwen