Thursday, November 10, 2011

Changing Our Opinion

Part 11 of a Segment-by-Challenging-Segment Series on 1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13:7b (NASB)
(love) …believes all things

1 Corinthians 13:7b (AMP)
(love) … is ever ready to believe the best of every person (AMP)

“Peter and I are getting a divorce. He found someone else.” Dottie told me as we began our daily walk. Her eyes were filling with tears.

“Dottie, I’m so sorry.” I knew Dottie well and observed for years how deeply she loved her husband. Stopping to put my hand on her shoulder, I said, “Let’s take our walk later. Looks like you could use a good cry.”

 “It hurts, Sheryl. And what makes it worse is dreading what everybody’s going to say. After all, this will be my fourth divorce.”

 “You just tell them to talk to me, and I’ll let them know what a great person you are.” I gave her hug.

That exchange is actually a combination of conversations I had with two ladies. Both experienced multiple divorces and deserve to have others believe the best of them.

How can we practice believing the best of every person? We can begin by not starting or listening to rumors. To dismantle a conversation going in the wrong direction, say something like: “Oh, I hope that’s not true. We need to pray for [her or him].” It’s even better than just remaining silent because sometimes our silence could say the wrong thing.

And what about believing the best in those we see every day? If our spouse makes a costly investment mistake, are we convinced he’s a failure, or do we still believe in his ability to succeed? If our friend is caught cheating on a test, do we discredit her Christianity, or do we remember her years of faithfully serving God?

It’s easy to form a wrong opinion. It takes more effort to refuse to give in to it.

This week as we continue through 1 Corinthians 13, one small segment at a time, let’s be quick to look for the best in everyone.

If I sound like I have a handle on this, I assure you, I don’t. Writing this will help me to be a little more accountable, especially to those of you who know me personally. Tell me when I begin to speak ill of others. Bert, Hon that includes you.

Which brings up another way to improve in this area: be accountable. Form alliances with others who will hold you to this higher standard of love.

What do you think?

• Who can you be accountable with to practice believing the best of every person every time?

• How will loving others in this way affect your relationships? How will it affect your Christian witness?

• What section of Scripture would you like to memorize and obey one small segment at a time after we complete 1 Corinthians 13? (It could be a chapter, section of a chapter, a few verses, or even one verse).

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