Author: Rob Anderson
The ad on the television promises that a new drug will lower your blood pressure or drop your cholesterol levels. You are amazed at the health benefits this one drug can provide … until you begin to hear the legal disclaimer of potential side effects and problems one may have while taking this medication. Suddenly the drug may not be the cure-all you once thought it was.
Your friend describes a conflict he recently had with a fellow employee. As you listen to him paint the picture of this other employee, you are saddened at how arrogant that employee must be … until you begin to hear, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story. Your friend, you discover, sees the conflict only through the lens of his own self-interest.
The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18.17, ESV)
We want to believe the best in people, we really do. Yet at the same time, others want us to believe the best in them and so attempt to put their best foot forward. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so desire that impression to be a glowing one.
The speaker in Proverbs continually seems to state: Speak slowly, but listen quickly. Your first response to those who seek to woo you to their side in a conflict (the NIV uses the word “lawsuit” for the word translated “case” here in the ESV) should be to listen and carefully consider all the evidence presented to you. Do not rush to judgment nor select too quickly any one side. Allow all parties involved to state their observations. Assume the best in both sides, until further examination shows you otherwise.
Strive for complete fairness.