Judge everyone favorably
origin: Frank Koch, Proceedings (the magazine of the Naval Institute)
Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on
maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead
battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was
poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping and
eye on all activities.
Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, “Light,
bearing on the starboard bow.”
“Is it steady or moving astern?” the captain called out.
Lookout replied, “Steady, captain,” which meant we were on a dangerous
collision course with that ship.
The captain then called to the signalman, “Signal that ship: We are on a
collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees.”
Back came a signal, “Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees.”
“I’m a seaman second class,” came the reply. “You had better change
course 20 degrees.”
By that time, the captain was furious. He spat out, “Send, I’m a battleship.
Change course 20 degrees.”
Back came the flashing light, “I’m a lighthouse.”
We changed course.
There is a special mitzvah in the Torah called “Judging others favorably.” This means if I see someone causing me an affront, I have an obligation first to stop, think, and consider if perhaps I am missing one crucial factor.
It’s like the woman who was upset at not being invited to her friend’s wedding, and held a grudge for 20 years… until the invitation finally arrived in the mail accompanied by an apology from the Post Office.
Sometimes we feel we lack either the tools or patience to judge others favorably. As a matter of fact, more often than not we feel there could not possibly be any excuse or justification for certain behavior.
We can challenge these thoughts and prove how talented and ingenious we can be in inventing excuses for others - by seeing how well we do it for ourselves… as the following story portrays:
Below are pictures that demonstrate that things are not always as they appear.
OLD WOMAN… OR YOUNG GIRL?
COUNT THE BLACK DOTS
Posted in: Personal Growth