The Benefit of the Doubt + Complacency
You know, whoever said that giving someone the benefit of the doubt when you’re upset and you think you have a good reason to be is either an idiot, or a liar. It is a choice in every moment what you think of another person, and an active choice to forgive. You have to allow yourself to not believe in snap judgments.
“I am going to choose to believe that this was not his/her intention. I will choose to accept that I do not know all the details of this situation, and even if I did, I am just as guilty of making the same or similar mistakes. I will choose to still be kind, still be respectful, still try to be classy, and trust that God will resolve this situation without my ego. I trust that whatever wrong was done, if it has been done, was forgiven by Jesus on the cross. And I trust that in knowing my imperfections, I will be better able to love others, who are also imperfect.”
That is what it looks like for me. I am trying to get back in the habit of doing this. I can’t remember doing this in a way that I maintained for a longer period of time, and I can’t remember at what period in my life I first started or stopped. Nonetheless, it’s powerful to realize you are upset, and in that moment, decide to forgive. To not postpone it. To not base it on other people’s actions, which you do not control. If you are supposed to forgive, you need to do it today, and regardless of anyone else’s decisions. You are responsible for your own conduct, and you cannot control anyone else’s, no matter what duties or responsibilities you may have assumed. It is fair to give others the benefit of the doubt if you are a Christian, because you are merely recognizing that you are in no place to count them as worse than yourself; you are equal and equally stupid for even thinking about arguing. If you have the option to live in peace or to cause a problem, you are an idiot for staring problems that you can’t unravel. You are an idiot for complicating other people’s lives with your drama. And if you are an idiot, then I am an idiot, and often, I can be. I am wrong pretty regularly, but I know that being able to freely say that and work to resolve my conflicts peacefully (if not quietly) makes me a stronger person, and someone more people want to be around. I may not have all the answers. But why not try to do a little better at something I care about, if I’m able? There is no reason I can’t still learn. There is no reason I can excuse my actions unto someone else. This is my choice, and this is my life. Enough.
I am irritated pretty often with how complacent I can get. I don’t expect perfection of myself, but dang, can I be stubborn. I resent having to devise trickier and trickier ways of calling myself out at my own idiocy when I’m being dumb. I know I need to take my own medicine, but the thing is, having high standards sucks equally for the person that holds them and the people that don’t meet them, when that includes oneself. I can do better not to judge others. I can struggle to make that happen, because it’s worth it. I do not condone complacency in myself, and I try to distance myself from it in others, just because it makes me uneasy. That isn’t meant to judge anyone, it just is. I would rather be a miserable failure who is trying her absolute best then a happy go lucky, ungrateful jerk who calls it good enough. I don’t accept that, and I don’t think God would either.
We all have choices to make, and although I can’t choose to be less wrong, I can choose to be more gracious, having been given grace. I can choose to forgive, having received forgiveness. The gifts and means I have been given are mine alone to steward; they go to waste if I do not guard them and treat them with respect. Even if I’m broke and clueless, I still have my life, and that is the greatest gift I could imagine. I am not okay with just wasting my time and energy on anything, and I hope that in whatever I do, I might do it better over time, given grace, for God’s glory and not my own. I can be pretty thick-headed, but I trust him to make up for the moments I make an idiot of myself, that is pretty frequent. It isn’t beating yourself up to know you can do better, and resolve to do it. I can, and so I should. Not everyone can. Not everyone ever realizes what they’re missing out on, to simply take themselves seriously or put effort into knowing Jesus Christ. That is all I can ask for, and nothing I deserve, so I better make dang sure I make it matter, while I’m still alive. Enough. I can spout off words all day like a faucet but if I can’t admit where I’ve failed and have honesty over that, I am a freaking idiot.
If I am sick of hypocrisy, let me be the first to decide to make an effort to reduce it. I can be kind. I can be patient. I can do my best to remember that I too am flawed. I’m sick of accepting my weakness as good enough, instead of giving it to God. I’m sick of being obnoxiously dramatic when I can simply decide to be better and say nothing, except to use fewer words when it matters, listen better, and acknowledge what good does come, most of the time. I’m so over feeling ungrateful, and even though it’s only been a couple days, that crap adds up quick. It’s getting to be too much, to merely accept where I’m at. Even at about 48 hours worth of complacency, it’s a garbage experience period. I can do better. I was made to do better. Let’s see what more can come from God’s work in my life. I trust him. Let’s go.