Terri Mangione, PhD
St. Ignatius Loyola said, “Let it be presupposed that every good Christian should be more ready to save his neighbor’s proposition than to condemn it. If he cannot save it, let him inquire how he means it; and if he means it badly, let him correct him with charity. If that is not enough, let him seek all the suitable means to bring him to mean it well, and save himself.”
Give people the benefit of the doubt. Believe their intentions are good even if their actions are not. I try to recall this when I am being judgmental or critical. I want to be judged on my actions as well as on my intentions. I need to do the same for others. It is easier to offer a critical remark when evaluating the actions of others than it is to think about their intentions.
Every day I encounter someone who views the world differently than I do. I have a choice in how I react or respond. I can quickly dismiss the person or idea or I can “presuppose” good intentions on the part of the other. I must believe what was said was important from that person’s perspective and try to understand it from that perspective, even if it varies greatly from what I believe. I do not need to agree, but I do need to understand. This is difficult to do; but when I do, I always feel far more positively about the other person and about myself.