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!

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  • Jenni Clayville March 30, 2009  

    I think the people that know anything about you would know your account was hacked into.

    I don’t think we give each other the benefit of the doubt enough. It’s difficult though… there are so many people out there that really ruin it for the rest of us because they are so horrible. It’s hard to trust when you think you MAY get hurt in return.

    Thanks for the great reminder that it may not always be as it seems 🙂

  • Nate March 30, 2009  

    Also a chilling reminder to always check before typing our passwords. You never know what a webpage might be hiding. . .

  • tam March 31, 2009  

    i think it can become a “judging” issue too. which could be equally hurtful and unfortunate.

    i struggle with being a reactionary person…so this is a good word for me, girl.

    and im glad you got it sorted out.

  • Jenni Catron March 31, 2009  

    @Jenni & @Tam – I had to post this as much for me as anyone. I tend to be a skeptic. There are plenty of things that I can blame my skepticism on, but at the end of the day I want others to extend grace to me so I better be giving it. Thanks for chiming in and believing the best of me!

  • Dang…how’d I miss that one??? I’m on here all the time and I ALWAYS miss the good stuff!!!

    We all know you Jenni… If I would have seen it I would have probably laughed first…then called you! hahhaa

  • Brad Ruggles March 31, 2009  

    This is such a simple principle but one that many of us need to work on. It’s so easy to assume the worst rather than giving the benefit of the doubt.

    Great post Jenni.

  • holly March 31, 2009  

    Now, I’m just curious as to what was posted…sure, it wasn’t you? you are from northern Wisconsin after all… our standards are a bit different than in the south… 🙂

    Hope everything was cleared up and no harm done!

  • Pete Wilson March 31, 2009  

    Believe the best! Love it.