Simbang Gabi (3rd Day)
Joseph was shocked when he learned that Mary was expecting a baby. Here was a woman, Mary, whom Joseph always knew to be beyond fault. Legally he could have denounced her publicly. Yet he didn’t. He was ready to let the whole matter drop quietly, as if to give Mary the benefit of the doubt.
What a great virtue this is: to think the best of others! It reflects a heart of a true Christian—peaceful and calm. How many friendships have ended ― and relationships were damaged indeed, how many wars have started ― because people assumed the worst of someone else. Many times we have judged the motives of someone else, only to learn later that things were not as they first appeared? Can we not just “be more eager to put a good interpretation on a neighbor’s statement than to condemn it” (St. Ignatius)?
This is the key to healthy relationships within the family, in the workplace, in religious communities and among friends. But the sad thing is that we expect others to judge us according to our intentions, but we judge others according to their actions. In other words, we say to ourselves, “my intentions are good, why don’t they see this?”
But when it comes to other people, we often fail to give them the benefit of the doubt. BE KIND TO EVERYONE, BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT PROBLEMS THEY HAVE… maybe deep inside they are struggling with an old and festering emotional wound.
St. Ignatius, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), has a very nice reflection on this: BEWARE OF CONDENMING ANY MAN’S ACTION. COSIDER YOUR NEIGHBOR’S INTENTION, WHICH OFTEN IS HONEST AND INNOCENT, EVEN THOUGH HIS ACTIONS SEEM BAD IN OUTWARD APPEARANCE. In dealing with others, is charity always my first response?