Eugene Peterson translates this phrase as: [Love] always looks for the best (The Message). My own paraphrase reads: [Love] always gives the benefit of the doubt. And yet that is one of the most difficult things we will ever be called upon to do.
The antithesis of giving the benefit of the doubt is assuming the worst. This is so easy to do and, truth be told, probably the default setting for most of us. Unfortunately this lack of trust is a killer for relationships. Countless marriages have succumbed to the ravages of distrust, and countless hours of counseling have been spent in an attempt to stem the tide of disbelief.
And the church is not immune. When circumstances can be taken in more than one way, too often we err on the side of misgiving (we miss giving the benefit of the doubt). When a simple statement can be received as innocent or sinister, our insecurities make it too easy to come down on the negative side of things.
In fact, an inability to trust says a lot more about us than it does about those in whom we lack faith.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Doubt? There was none. We were guilty – hands down – and God still chose to believe in us.
TODAY’S MEDITATIONDo you need to give someone the benefit of the doubt? When your default setting is to believe the worst, ask God’s help instead to believe the best.