A few days ago I was on my way to visit someone I care about. As I did, I mentally prepared for our visit.
It is someone I care about very much, but sometimes has been a challenging relationship.
As I thought about the words I’d say, and not say and how I would respond or not respond, it hit me.
I was setting up the visit to be a difficult one — long before the doorbell rang, long before we spoke our first word.
Much like a defense football player I was preparing for the offense.
The problem is that no offense had taken place. . . except that which I was building in my heart and thoughts.
Ahh, don’t you hate it? That moment when you realize God is showing you something that is displeasing to Him? Something that you need to grow through?
If I were to live life as a forgiver in 2013, this was an area where God wanted to move in.
He was asking me to drop my defense and respond as a forgiver, long before I even encountered this person.
As I drove, the Lord gently showed me two things. Things I already knew, but things that I needed to live out.
Believe the best before assuming the worst
By believing the worst, I created a wedge between me and this person before they had a chance to say one word.
That’s simply not fair.
They would walk into a situation where they were already losing, even their intentions were the best.
Deal with it
If the situation or conversation became difficult, then I could deal with it. I didn’t have to figure out carefully-worded responses in advance that kept peace but skirted the issue, or distract with a new topic.
I could simply state the truth in grace, understanding that our relationship mattered enough to share the truth, with a heart to receive it in return.
Funny thing, but that visit was wonderful.
I wish I could say that it was because we were both on our A game that day, but it wasn’t that at all.
This person still said something that would have put me on the defense at another time, but when I assumed the best I saw that the words were playful, not hurtful.
When we talked about a difficult topic, I listened, but also shared my thoughts briefly, not wanting or demanding that this person receive them or see it my way.
I learned something new.
I’m not a football player. I don’t have to plan my offense in advance.
I’m a person, a believer who lives fully in every minute with God’s help. And just as He gives me a fresh slate each and every day, I can do that with those I care about (and those I may not) by believing the best before assuming the worst.
What about you?
Do you ever assume the worst before believing the best?
How would this slight shift of focus change your relationships? How would it change you?