“Peter wants a divorce,” my friend said, taking rapid breaths.
It pained me to see her struggling to keep from falling completely apart. “I’m so sorry, Stacey.”
When our eyes met, her mascara was long gone. “It hurts, Sheryl. And what makes it worse is knowing some people will believe Peter – that it’s all my fault. I don’t think I can handle this.”
Her words pierced my heart as I bemoaned the added anguish I knew she would suffer from those who didn’t know the whole truth.
How often do we find ourselves the object of false judgment? Or on the flip side, being one of those speaking falsehoods about another?
It reminds me of the second part of 1 Corinthians 13:7 (ESV)
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition, expands “believes all things” this way: “[Love] is ever ready to believe the best of every person.”
How can we be ever ready to believe the best of every person, especially when the conversation turns against them? We can begin by deciding ahead of time that we’ll never start rumors or listen to them. To redirect a conversation going in the wrong direction, try saying something like: “Oh, I hope that’s not true. But just in case, I’ll put (name of person) on my prayer list.” This is better than remaining silent, because sometimes our silence implies our agreement.
And what about believing the best of those we see every day? If our husband makes a costly investment mistake, do we lose faith in him, or do we continue to believe in his ability to succeed? If a friend constantly shows up late, do we focus on that one (albeit irritating) flaw, or can we ask God to help us recall (and believe in) her good qualities?
Refusing to listen to rumors and form negative opinions about people takes effort. But when we choose to believe the best of someone (and help others to do the same) – and faithfully pray for them – we could keep that person from falling into a depth of despair that might lead to devastating consequences.
Knowing someone still believes in them – knowing they’re worth defending – could give them the hope and dignity they need to persevere.
What about you?
You can use a pseudonym (fake name) when commenting.
- How have others false opinion of you affected you?
- How have your false opinions of others affected them?
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