Human nature compels us to find explanations — to fill in blanks, to look for patterns, to understand what we don’t understand. And in doing so, we inevitably make judgments about why people do what they do, what their motives were, whether their responses were appropriate, and so on. We are constant assessors. Or, to put it less politely, we make a lot of judgments.
That may be human nature, but it’s dangerous ground. It would be fine if we were omniscient enough to know all the details and righteous enough to approve or condemn them, but we aren’t. Our assumptions may be on target every once in a while, but often they are misguided. And they can do a lot of damage to our relationships.
That’s why it’s vital to be slow in getting offended and quick to forgive. The world is sorely lacking in magnanimous attitudes, and we can do something about that. When our first reaction includes grace and positive assumptions, our relationships flourish. Anything less is destructive.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV).
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