Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31
Think the best of others because this is what you expect them to think of you. Give them the same benefit of the doubt you desire. Believe that they have your best interests in mind. The temptation is to default to cynicism and be suspect of their motives, but leave this to God. We cannot judge a man or woman’s heart. One role of the Holy Spirit is to convict and lead others to a higher level of Christian maturity.
Our role is to trust the good will of those God has placed in our lives. It is especially important to think the best of those closest to us. Husbands, think the best of your wives. Wives, think the best of your husbands. If they love God, they want His very best for your life. Their questions are not meant to be critical, but to bring clarity, connection, and accountability. Pride resists this level of trust and maturity.
Pride does not want to think the best of others. Pride would rather gut it out on its own and not have to listen to the loving counsel of those who care. This is especially tempting to teenagers growing into young adults. They want to figure things out on their own, and not be told what to do. But wise is the young person who will think the best of the authorities in their life. Their mom and dad who love Jesus are full of good will. They want God’s very best for their own flesh and blood. Your parents do not want to control you; they want to support you. There is a huge difference. Support means they trust you and they entrust you to God. They think the best of you and believe you will make the wisest decision. Your parents pray for you and care for you. Their intentions are pure and without wrong intent. Listen to them. Your parents are one of God’s means to His best.
Lastly, think the best of others because God does. When God looks at His children, He sees Christ. He doesn’t look at them as sinners stuck on themselves. The Lord looks at His followers as full of potential for Him. They are still rough around the edges in sin, and the world does roughen them up at times, but beyond the fear and the sorrow are hearts that want to move forward with their heavenly Father. He reaches out to His children and offers opportunities. He thinks the best of us because we are His. You can’t get any thicker than the blood of Jesus Christ.
It is easy to get into the eternal family of God; you believe, and it is impossible to get out; you’re secure. He does not disown us for our dumb mistakes. He forgives us, and thinks the best of us; so trust in God and others. Trusting others’ intentions does not mean you are irresponsible. You still follow up, verify facts, and ask questions. You still hold them accountable, but your defining attitude is trust. This is harder as we get older, but let your Savior put your suspicions to rest. Choose to think the best of people and circumstances. It is much more than just being positive. It is a deep-seated trust in the core of your being, given to you by God.
Think the best of yourself, your spouse, your friends, and your work associates. You trust when you think the best. After all, this is how you want others to treat you.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, when I begin to feel ill will, fill me with the willingness to love well, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Application: Whom do I need to value above my needs?
Related Readings: Psalm 41:1; Romans 12:16, 15:1-3; Philippians 4:5; Titus 3:2