Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Benefit of the Doubt

How easy it is to read between the lines, the actions and words of others. How quick to judge not on the premise of understanding or full knowledge, but with the tainting of the personal. The ability of individuals to assume or presume a judgement on thought, word, and deed without full knowledge of the intent or premise of the speaker. It is so easy based on personal bias to presume upon someone an intent in their speech which either affirms or discourages.
Benefit of the doubt means a favourable judgement given in the absence of full evidence. It is the essence of forgiveness, the lingering fragrance of the sacrifice of the heart, the thought of a conversation that does not reflect on the nuance of the word spoken, nor the quickness of a retort, nor the inflection of the voice, just the quiet appropriation of shared thought and feelings, giving way, letting go of any and all misgivings or apprehensions we may have had. In discussion, lending to the other person the right to be heard, offering grace, not returning evil for misconception.
Face value means no more or less than what is stated; a literal or direct meaning or interpretation. Interestingly enough a definition of value refers to the relative darkness or lightness of colour, to make a stretch in terms of this point, in 1 Cor. 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. The gist of the statement is that in looking through glass which does not reveal a true image, the vision is obscured(an enigma, mystery), much like evaluating conversations and words by use of our own personal slant or bias. In reference to the word know, it comes from the Greek word ginosko. In the New testament ginosko frequently indicates an active and progressing relation between two parties in which there is value and importance in knowing and in being known. This knowledge is not obtained by any other media than contact, contact in a manner which is non-judgemental, non-threatening, intimate (personal, private, familiar), with understanding, perceptive. Knowing with whom you are speaking is paramount to the avoidance of unnecessary hurt and pain, it removes the edge that words can have, it can placate the venom that arises as sentences are put on the table, it is what we are called to comprehend about relationships. Love for one-another is not painless, nor without misunderstanding, but it can still be love; durable, permanent, strong, constant. Even forgiving.
Words hurt, the old saying, 'Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me' is the biggest lie we were ever taught. Words have tremendous power (read Genesis 1, John 1) and as hypocritical as this is for ME to say, I believe that the power of the spoken word extends beyond this physical realm into the spiritual. The positive aspect is the extraordinary power to heal and to restore, to correct, to affirm, to teach.
Psalms 119:105, thy word is a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path
James 1:22 but prove yourselves doers of the word
Col. 4:6 let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
Deut. 32:2 let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew,...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Frederick Beuchner writes: "Who knows what words do, but whatever it is, it can never be undone. Something that lay hidden in the heart is irrevocably released through speech into time, is given substance and tossed like a stone into the pool of history, where the concentric rings lap out endlessly."
If words have such devastating power, such permanence, then let us devote ourselves to good words—words of life, words of love, words of encouragement.