"The Benefit of the Doubt"
September 15, 2006Email to a FriendPrint
A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11
There are two words we use interchangeably that Scripture uses in specific ways. The first is perseverance: the ability God gives to deal with difficult circumstances or situations. The second word is patience: the ability God gives to deal with difficult people. If you are in a difficult situation, pray for perseverance. When faced with a difficult person, pray for patience.
It is the wise person who can patiently overlook an offense. We call this "giving others the benefit of the doubt." Instead of assuming every offense is a deliberate act meant to cause harm, be patient. Instead of trying to judge her actions, give your neighbor time to demonstrate her good intentions.
Parents would do well to take this proverb to heart. So often our children do foolish things. In those moments we are tempted to rush in to discipline only to realize later the offense was not that serious. Children deserve patience as much as anyone. Remember God is long-suffering with us, His children. He chose to overlook our sin until the day it was placed on the shoulders of our Lord, Jesus Christ. God's discipline is always carefully and thoughtfully applied. He is patient with us and treats us with forgiving love.
PRAYER: Father, teach us to be patient with each other; for Jesus' sake. Amen.
(Devotions from "The Abundant Life" copyright 1998, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time e-mailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)