THE AMERICANS MIGHT STRUGGLE HERE but the age-old game of cricket involves a principle of giving the benefit of any doubt during appeal to the batsmen. It follows usually in courts of law—innocent until proven (beyond doubt) guilty—and so it remains for love...
The principle of the benefit of the doubt it pretty simple I think. We can imagine what the costs are if a wrong decision is made.
In our earlier examples we have the batsmen given out and it starts his or her side’s crumble into defeat. The bowling side can get over the rejection of the appeal more readily than the batting side can get over the loss of a crucial wicket. In court, it would be better to send a guilty person away innocent than an innocent person away (to prison) guilty.
What if we applied the same condition to our relationships? Could they only be stronger, more robust and trust-enrolled as a result?
And this is faith. It’s having such love for our spouse, family, loved ones, friends, co-workers etc that we’d offer them the benefit of any doubt or misinformation or lack of information—assuming their good and not bad; their innocence and not guilt.
This is not an easy thing to do. It would require of us a decision of intentionality. It would require of us a plan to execute this change within ourselves—to more fully have faith in others—the extension of grace, indeed.
Due the earlier cricket and court examples, what are the costs of not extending the benefit of the doubt to the people we relate with? Could it be that when we exercise judgment we’re condemning where the costs for same are hardly bearable?
Could this explain the lack of trust in this world? We tamper continually with trust and respect and we end up with a compliant and joyless love everywhere. Hence, no one into such “love” enjoys their relationships, for there’s no inbuilt safety in them.
Issuing the benefit of the doubt—even warranting the possibility of hurt—can only extend for us and our important relationships, the grace that is most necessary for our relationships to not simply survive but also thrive.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.