I like Wikipedia’s definition the phrase: A favourable judgement given in the absence of full evidence.
My wife did this the other day when, while at work, she emailed the names of a half-dozen fruits and vegetables to add to my grocery shopping list. She gave me the benefit of the doubt that I’d see the email and buy those items without her having to phone and check up on me. (A risky move on her part, I’ll admit.)
This approach is the foundation of most of our thinking:
- We fly thousands of feet above the ground without evidence that every bit of the airplane is in perfect working order;
- We drive our cars without being absolutely certain the muffler won’t fall off;
- We marry someone even though there’s no scientific way to prove they will always be faithful;
- We pay to watch a movie with only the presence of a favourite actor as evidence we’ll enjoy it.
Giving benefit of the doubt is also the meeting point for me and Christianity. Before deciding to follow Jesus, I had many tough, in-depth debates with some brave Christians who were willing to field my questions and charges.
I still recall one conversation with a friend who, like me now, didn’t understand everything about his faith and didn’t have all the answers to my questions (or his). But he did ask me this: would I be willing to give God the benefit of the doubt, just as he had?
I didn’t answer immediately, but over time I said yes because I figured it would put me in a much better place, now and for eternity. And that’s exactly what it’s done.
Since then, I’ve come to realize that giving God the benefit of the doubt, day after day, is part of the Christian faith. Why? Because it’s a powerful and necessary reminder that God is God and I am NOT. I like how the Bible defines it: “Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.”
Spiritual faith is such a tough concept for our culture that many people would rather put their faith in a parachute or a bungee cord. But if you want it – if you’re ready to give God the benefit of the doubt, just as you do for countless other things – then you can have your life transformed. And you can be where Jesus most wants you to be: by his side, in Heaven, forever.
Do you agree? Do you think I’m crazy? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.