Benefit of the Doubt

Years ago, I bought a used minivan based on an Craigslist ad. The man who owned the car ran an auto repair shop, and assured me the vehicle was in great shape. I even took the car to a separate mechanic near him to have it checked out. I never bought something that expensive from a private party and I was nervous. I wanted to believe the seller was true to his word.

Turns out he wasn’t. The car was previously in a major accident, and numerous problems under the hood were masked by slick body work. I didn’t find out until months after completing the transaction.

Believing in someone and getting betrayed is painful. But so is not believing in someone and being exposed for a lack of faith.

Like many others who saw the video, I concluded the adult who apparently stole a baseball intended for a kid at a Cubs game was a major jerk. I was wrong about him. The bigger concern was what my assumption said about me.

Our realities are shaped by what each of us choose to believe. Seeing life as harsh and unfair has far more impact than actual facts. And the problem with being cynical is that you easily miss out on what’s good in this world.

I now realize giving someone the benefit of the doubt is not just a benefit for the other person, but for me as well.