“Distance Yourself from a Bad Neighbor…”

Last week in our Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) book we read that we should “judge everyone favorably.” In other words, we should give people the benefit of the doubt and not be hasty in our judgments. This made me think of an incident years ago in which someone told me they had seen the Sunday School Superintendent (or deacon, or director) return a bunch of beer cans. This person assumed that the superintendent had drank them all himself and was an alcoholic. I said, “But you don’t know if this person picked them up alongside the road, or  was returning them for someone else, or had drank a beer now and then over years, or ….?” This is a case of jumping to a hasty conclusion without getting all the facts. We must give people the benefit of the doubt.

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