Believe the Best

“If one falls down, his friend can help him up.”
Ecclesiastes 4:10

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I could hear the frustration in Mark’s voice from the other room and immediately thought “he must be using the computer”. Sure enough, when I entered the lounge room, there he was, bashing away at the keyboard. I asked if he wanted some help and his response was “why doesn’t it just work?”
“I don’t know, would you like me to take a look?”

Mark is one of the most patient men I know, but like all of us, he has his limits. When other men would throw their tools down in disgust, Mark just keeps going until he gets the job done. I would love to have his patience.

Wait a minute, I do have his patience.
You see I can happily spend hours trying to work out what is wrong with the computer, but five minutes behind a driver going 60 in the 80 zone, then 110 when you have the potential to overtake them, does my head in. If there’s one thing I have learned after seven years of marriage, it is this: we both have strengths and weaknesses in different areas and it’s what we choose to believe about each other that makes all the difference.

I could get frustrated with Mark when he insists on trying to fix his computer problem instead of letting me help him. And I could get frustrated with him when I try to show him what he is doing wrong with the computer and he refuses to learn, (he says he doesn’t need to, apparently that’s why he married me), but I don’t (well most of the time anyway). He could get frustrated with me when I tell him how to drive, but most of the time he simply points out that he’s done alright so far and doesn’t need my help.

There’s a fine line between ‘just wanting to help’ and ‘nagging’ and between ‘showing someone grace’ and ‘making them feel stupid’. On the other hand, if we keep in mind what the other person’s intentions are, we would avoid many problems. Ask yourself, “are they really trying to make me look stupid? Or are they just trying to help?” “Are they questioning my competence? Or are they suggesting a way to make life easier?” When we choose to believe the best about one another, we walk away feeling grateful for their help and not inadequate and misjudged.

I wonder how many times we have felt resentment towards someone who is just trying to help? I wonder how many times we have let our egos dictate what flies out of our mouths, without taking a moment to consider what their motive was? Sure, sometimes people are trying to make us feel stupid and inadequate, but isn’t it better to believe the best about people and, if we are wrong, then at least we are being humble and not haughty. Being a friend means helping someone when they fall, let’s try and think about that the next time we see someone struggling.

Written by Jacqui

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