Don’t jump to conclusions about what other people are thinking! This is one of the most valuable pieces of advice I received long ago and continue to pass along today. Too many times we paint the “worst case scenario” in our heads when we run into a relationship conflict. We’re then filled with hurt, anger and sometimes vengeful thoughts toward someone because we are SURE of the evil they’ve been plotting against us.
Reality has shown me over and over again that most of the evil we’ve assumed to be present in others is not accurate. Granted, there are times when we encounter down right evil people who do want to harm us. However, this is usually the exception. Most people don’t like to harbor ill-will toward others. They want to have a peaceful equilibrium just as much as you do.
Here’s a perfect example of this. Several months ago, “Kate” (not her real name) had expressed her anger to me because extended family and friends were distancing themselves from her. She felt they were judging her over a heart-rending issue in her immediate family. A mistake had been made and Kate was sure they were all seeing her and her family as “failures” and “unworthy” of friendship. I challenged Kate to set aside her assumptions about them…to put the best construction on things instead of the worst. Just recently when I saw Kate, she was excited to tell me how things had changed. She had followed my advice and lovingly confronted a family member about being distant. To her great surprise, this family member wanted to reach out to Kate, but had been unsure of how to do it. It was fear and uncertainty that had caused the distance, not judgment and ridicule. Kate and this family member were able to reconcile when the false assumptions were cleared away. The same was also true when open conversation took place with several other friends.
Satan loves to break up relationships. He loves to plant lies in our heads. These lies, rather than the truth, are often the greatest cause of conflict. Don’t believe the Deceiver. Pray for strength from your loving Savior, Jesus, to speak the truth in love to those around you. Most of the time, you’ll be surprised to find that they’re not nearly as bad as you assumed. In fact, they’re usually eager to speak caring words of truth in love as well. And, by God’s power, great relationships will prosper.