A number of years ago I was watching a presentation on board the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier now museum in New York. It was describing the American involvement in World War 2, and referring to some of the failed missions against the Nazis.
The presentation described it something like this: “The British didn’t plan some of their missions properly” but went on to say that “The American forces had a lot of bad luck with the weather”!
In other words, we did our best, but the British should have known better!
Have you ever looked with disbelief at what someone else is doing, asking yourself how they can knowingly perform an action that has negative outcomes?
I know I have! Especially when someone else makes a mistake!
Even if the outcome isn’t obviously negative, it can be “Why in the world are they doing it that way!”
It is very easy to judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. 1
So, when I make a mistake, I expect others to take it easy on me because I tried my best! I didn’t mean to make a mistake!
I did the best I could with what I know, it just didn’t go according to plan! Maybe there were some things I didn’t yet know, that would have saved me from making the mistake! 2
But if they make the same mistake? Oh boy, they REALLY messed up! They should have known better!
What if I take the time to understand their intentions before making a judgement? How would that change things?
Now, I’m not in favour of just dismissing an action because of the intention. Actions carry consequences! We can make bad decisions with the best of intentions, and we will still have to suffer the effect of those bad decisions.
In that though, I don’t need to treat the person any worse for it. Maybe I can even help them through it!
Maybe others have judged you on your actions and not on your intentions. Don’t repeat the behaviour, even though you may feel they may deserve it! Are you now judging them by their actions?
As hard as it may be, forgive them! It’s the best thing you can do for yourself.
So if you want others to judge you by your intentions, don’t forget to do the same to them. Assume the best in others.
As you take the time to learn, who knows what you will discover!
Bless you guys!