Believe the Best
Assume the best.
Give the benefit of the doubt.
I had a funny thing (well kind of funny depending on your perspective) happen to me this week. I got a very kind but concerned message from a former colleague about a status update he saw on my facebook page. The update included an expletive that he felt was inappropriate considering my position as a church leader. I was totally freaked out because I didn’t write the update. I went into immediate damage control mode trying to figure out how my facebook page was hacked. I was distraught because I was afraid of what people would think. I was fearful that they wouldn’t give me the benefit of the doubt.
I traced (or at least think I have traced) the problem to the twitter application on facebook. I immediately turned the application off. Sent a twitter message to check to make sure it wasn’t going through. Sent a twitter asking people for advice on how to handle it and posted an apology and explanation on my facebook page.
And then I held my breathe.
Would people believe me? Would those who had read the message the previous evening see my update and know it wasn’t me or had they already vowed to never talk to Jenni Catron again! (drama intended because I am really paranoid about people getting the wrong impression)
But, you know what?
At least a few gave me the benefit of the doubt. They believed the best. They said things like “that didn’t sound like the Jenni I know”.
And that little bit of grace gave me so much relief.
I still don’t know if everyone who read it knows that it wasn’t from me. I hope they have. I hope they won’t assume the worst.
But all of this became a reminder to me of the importance of giving people the benefit of the doubt. Give people a chance to explain themselves. You don’t always know what’s going on. You never know when you may have misunderstood.
Believe the best. It matters!