Benefit of the Doubt

I live in Wichita, KS. There’s some homeless people. Not a lot. But some.

The vast majority of the time I drive by homeless people just trying not to make eye contact. I think I do so because I don’t want to feel guilty. Truth be told, I’m a skeptical person. I shy away from anything that doesn’t feel genuine. I’m sure some  “homeless people” aren’t homeless. They’re just taking people’s money. I’m sure most homeless people are homeless, and are in need of help, grace, and kindness.

I can probably count on one hand the amount of times I’ve helped a homeless person financially. I know I can’t help them all. I know some aren’t genuine. And wrongly, I apply that thinking to all.

Simply put, I don’t give homeless people the benefit of the doubt. I don’t let their situation emotionally affect me to the point of action. I know that’s not right.

This isn’t a call to help homeless people.

I’ve realized my skepticism travels to all humans, not just ones without homes. I pass judgement far before I give someone the benefit of the doubt. I don’t often give people room to make mistakes, be selfish, or hurt me. I make mistakes and am selfish 90, okay 95% of the time, but it’s hard to allow other people to do the same.

That’s a bad way to live. Wondering what other people are thinking is exhausting. Judging if their actions are fair to me is pointless. Wondering and judging causes stress and callousness. Callousness is definitely the most impressive word in this post.

Next time I see a homeless person, a friend, a stranger, or my wife, I’m gonna try to give them the benefit of the doubt. They probably have selfish motives. They’re probably passing judgement. They’re probably gonna screw things up. Just like me.

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