Are you jaded towards other in your everyday life? Do you normally give people the benefit of the doubt or do you assume the worst of them? I think we can tell a lot about ourselves based on our kneejerk responses to situations. I think too often we respond out of judgment rather than grace. Have you ever called someone, left a message for them to call you back…and they never did? What was your response? Did you get frustrated or did you give them grace? It turns out they hadn’t called you back yet because they were on vacation, or a family member had gone to the hospital, or they had simply gotten extremely busy and accidentally forgotten. We assumed that when they didn’t call us back that it was because they were avoiding us or they are terribly unorganized people who don’t care enough about others to call them back. Maybe we have run into people in our past that this was true for, but it doesn’t mean it is true for everyone. Our past few bad experiences have left us jaded and our first response is negative.
I think this mentality comes from pride, and it can become addicting. And just like other addictions, it doesn’t destroy all at once, but instead takes you down bit by bit. Our pride tells us that we are right, and soon it tells us that we are right all the time. Before long, not only are we right, but everyone else in the world is wrong and we begin to assume the worst of them. Grace is absent and we jump to negative conclusions about other rather than giving them the benefit of the doubt.
I admit this is often my first response and I’m not proud of it. I think, “How can they afford another vacation? Aren’t they pastors? They must be misusing funds.” When the truth is that they were gifted it from a friend who knew they needed some R & R. Rather than celebrating the fact that they get time off, I automatically judge them. I’m not proud of this and it’s something that has found its way into my prayer life, regularly Jesus to help me give others mercy in my thinking.
When we regularly maintain this way of thinking, it can destroy us, our ministries, our marriages and friendships. If you find yourself jaded, pray God would soften your heart, allowing you to see the best in people.
“Mercy triumphs over judgement.” James 2:13b
About the Author
Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners who never leave their side. Doug grew up in… Read More