Posted by: Upāsaka | 06/12/2017

Benefit of the Doubt 

O you who believe! Avoid much suspicions, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). (Quran, 49:12)

How many times have I judged someone negatively based on their appearance or half-heard snippets of a conversation and later discovered that they, just like me, are more than a caricature of a human but a complex being who wants only to be happy and didn’t want suffering? 

How many times have I almost responded to a perceived alight with aggression only to discover I was mistaken? In all cases, waiting for just a moment or two longer saved me from committing an embarrassing error but what if I had simply given these people the benefit of the doubt? What if I refused to believe the negative perceptions I formed?

At the risk of being wrong and mistaking true malice for inattention or carelessness, may I ever give all beings the benefit if the doubt. May I always impute the best possible motives to friends, relatives and strangers and may I cover up their faults and failings. 

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