Friday, September 12, 2014

Strong Women Assume the Best of Others


Strong Women Series: #4

     Have you ever heard a negative rumor about someone? Have you ever seen a news report accusing someone of doing wrong? Have you ever been suspicious of someone, or their motives? What was your response? I know I often wonder if I should believe it.
     Of course, these rumors, accusations and suspicions are sometimes true. Sadly, not everyone can be trusted. People can appear to be good and upright when in actuality they live a duplicitous life. And often our women's intuition alerts us that someone is not what they appear to be on the surface. We must always be on the alert, and should not ignore signs of danger.
     On the other hand, we must avoid the temptation to nibble on every delectable offering of juicy gossip.  We mustn't  jump to conclusions without insisting on gathering more evidence to prove, conclusively, that someone has done wrong. We must insist on assuming the best of others until we know that we definitely should not.  It is a good rule of thumb to believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. How many times have we watched someone being tried and found guilty in the Media without ever hearing the other side of the story? So often it was not at all true. And even after being cleared of the charges, someone innocent was left with devastation and ruin after all the bad publicity.

     At our church there is a motto that bears repeating: "Never assume you know the whole story."  Instead of repeating rumors we are urged to go straight to the person in question, if we feel that a rumor is personally important to us, and speak face to face with the person in question. Believing the worst about someone is much easier than speaking to them directly, isn't it? But what would I want someone to do if a rumor was spreading about me? I would want to know about it. I would want to be able to explain my side of the story.  And every story has two sides, with lots of shades of grey in between. Perspective is everything.

 "Where no wood is, there the fire goes out:
so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceases."
(Proverbs 26:20)

     Strong women resist the urge to pile on, even when a rumor perhaps proves to be true.  They realize that we all have untold stories, hidden wounds, and dirty laundry that we would be embarrassed for someone else to air. Wisdom requires that we "judge with righteous judgment," as Jesus said, meaning don't be harsher on someone else than you would want them to be on you.  Let us exercise grace when in doubt, and have merciful hearts even when the worst is proven to be true. Strong women are saddened, not excited, to hear an evil report about anyone--they choose to assume the best and doubt the worst.





  1. Thanks, Margaret--I hope to do another one or two in the series if I get more feedback. :-)