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March 27, 1996

Two Sides

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The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. PROVERBS 18:17
There are two sides to every story.
It’s an unspoken motto of every wise parent, every discerning judge, every smart teacher, and every diligent boss. There’s no way to accurately assess a fight between siblings, a difficult court case, a squabble among classmates, or a conflict between coworkers without hearing from all the parties involved. Each person tries to present his case in the best possible light; it’s only as all sides are heard that the inconsistencies are revealed and the truth begins to emerge.
We may not be in a position to hear cases or settle disputes at work, but if we practice the principle spelled out in this verse, we could save ourselves a lot of grief and stress. How many times do we jump to conclusions about something our companies, our bosses, or coworkers are doing without finding out all the facts first? We might hear that the CEO has been meeting with all the department heads, and the next thing we know, the rumor mill is grinding out speculation about an impending layoff.
When that happens, we have two choices: We can start losing sleep over the fact that our job might be in jeopardy, or we can ask our boss what’s really going on. The truth may hurt, but at least we’ll know it’s the truth.
On a more personal level, think about what would happen if one coworker told you that another coworker—one whom you like and respect—had been critical of your work. Your first reaction might be to get angry and start gossiping about the other person, but if you follow the advice in this verse, you’d check your anger and find out the rest of the story. It may well be that the coworker you trust actually did say something about you, but your other coworker may have taken it completely out of context.
Are you willing to reserve judgment until you have heard all sides? If not, you’re setting yourself up to be misinformed, perhaps even deceived.

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