We’ve all done. We pick up our phone to check one more time to see if they responded (probably about the 8th time we’ve done so in about 30 minutes). “How could they not respond?” “Are they ignoring me?” “Did I say the wrong thing?” “Are they mad?” “No…maybe they just have an attitude.” “What is going on?!?!?”
These moments can often seem a bit comical on the other side of it when we simply learn the person’s battery died, they fell asleep, or that they couldn’t respond because they were in a meeting with their boss. In fact, we feel a bit embarrassed and try to play it off like we weren’t bothered. (Okay, so I’m the only one? Really?!)
We can laugh about these moments but what about when we jump to a conclusion that can cause someone pain or places you in a situation where you end up losing a relationship? It’s not quite as funny in these moments.
I recently had something like this occur where I was attempting to help a person who felt like they had been wronged by another individual. I wanted to show support so I advocated up the chain of command for the person who came to me.
As we proceeded to arrange for the three of us to meet on Zoom (because who meets in person anymore nowadays?) the person I was advocating for was left off the call due to a technical issue that was out of our control. Within less than 10 minutes of us missing the call with all three of us, the person who I was advocating for sent a horrifically disrespectful email to the other person I asked to help. They assumed that since that person missed the call, that they ignoring the issue. This was the furthest thing from the truth. The damage was already done though by the email that was sent prior to knowing the full story.
As a society, we’ve lost the art of giving people the benefit of the doubt. We’ve become more impatient and more angry. We want people to give us understanding but we don’t want to give it to others. My question is simply this—why?
Why is it so easy to think that people are out to “get us?” Why do we assume the worst in others instead of considering other options (especially if that person has never given us a reason to think otherwise)? Why do we feel we should be allowed exceptions but not grant them to others?
Proverbs 25:8 in The Message version pretty much sums this behavior up well. “Don’t jump to conclusions—there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.”
You can never go wrong by giving someone the benefit of the doubt. If they continuously prove you wrong, then that’s one thing (and a subject matter for another blog). My word of encouragement today is simply—watch where you jump.