Wednesday, September 11, 2013

the benefit of the doubt: a repost


This is my favorite story about charity.  It's from one of my faves, Sister Sheri Dew.  It is a great reminder of what true charity looks like. 

AT AGE THIRTY TWO, I WAS CALLED TO SERVE IN THE STAKE RELIEF SOCIETY PRESIDENCY, AND THE THREE OF US BONDED QUICKLY AS THE DEAREST OF FRIENDS. BECAUSE OF MY WORK SCHEDULE AND THE LARGE FAMILIES OF THE
PRESIDENT AND OTHER COUNSELOR, WE HELD PRESIDENCY MEETINGS ON
TUESDAYS AT THE UNEARTHLY HOUR OF 5:30 AM.
ONE MORNING, THE PRESIDENT RAISED AN ISSUE THAT FOR SOME REASON  SET ME OFF.  
I CLIMBED ON MY RAMEUMPTOM, DELIVERED A TIRADE, AND LEFT IN  A HUFF
BUT AS I DROVE AWAY AND HEADED TOWARD WORK, MY HEART SANK.
 I COULDN'T
BELIEVE I'D RESPONDED TO MY FRIENDS THAT WAY, AND I WAS DESPERATE TO APOLOGIZE. 

BUT I FELT AS IF I NEEDED TO DO IT IN PERSON, WHICH I DETERMINED TO DO THAT VERY NIGHT.  FINALLY EVENING CAME. I STOPPED AT HOME BRIEFLY TO PICK UP
SOMETHING,  ONLY TO HAVE THE DOORBELL RING.  

THERE STOOD MY TWO FRIENDS.  CASSEROLES IN HAND. 
THE MOTHERS OF FIFTEEN CHILDREN BETWEEN THEM HAD BROUGHT ME,
THE MOTHER OF NONE, DINNER.
"ILL NEVER FORGET WHAT THEY SAID: THIS MORNING WASN'T LIKE YOU. YOU MUST BE UNDER A LOT OF PRESSURE. WE THOUGHT DINNER MIGHT MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER." 
 TEARS FLOWED AS I APOLOGIZED, AND OUR FRIENDSHIP GREW INSTANTLY STRONGER.
IMAGINE WHAT THEY COULD HAVE BEEN SAYING ALL DAY ?
THAT LITTLE BRATSHE'S NOT EVEN MARRIED.  WHAT DOES SHE KNOW, SHE'S LUCKY TO EVEN BE IN THIS PRESIDENCY."  THEY COULD HAVE WHIPPED THEMSELVES INTO A LATHER AND PUNISHED ME FOR DAYS.
-BUT THEY DIDNT.
THEY DIDN'T GOSSIP.
THEY DIDNT JUDGE.
THEY DID GIVE ME THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT. 
THAT DAY I SAW WHAT CHARITY LOOKS LIKE.
CHARITY WAS NOT, BY THE WAY, THE CASSEROLES. IT WAS MY FRIENDS GENTLE
HANDLING OF MY MISTAKE,  AND THEIR WILLINGNESS TO ASSUME THE BEST AND
STEP FORWARD TO SOOTHE FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS.”

I love this quote from her too.

 
“On those days when we are not ready to stop being offended, not ready to forgive, still determined to dish out the silent treatment, what we are actually saying is, 'Thanks, but I don't want to become more like the Savior today. Maybe tomorrow, but not today.' Perhaps those are the times when we need to pray the hardest, the times it becomes clear that a change in behavior is not enough--that we must have a change in nature.” 

I am a work in progress, just like everyone else.  
Grateful for all the many souls out there that DO give me the benefit of the doubt.

1 "my two cents...":

Catherine said...

Amen, sister.