You don’t have to give someone the benefit of the doubt. You can be absolutely certain about a particular impression or characteristic of someone. You don’t have to overlook and ignore it. But you can still be gracious in your interactions, even in your confrontation.
I often hear people say they just can’t interact with someone because of his or her beliefs. Because of who someone voted for, what someone supports, what someone believes, or sometimes it’s even a personality trait. They simply cannot accept anything from that person because of the vast differences.
Because each of us can rest assured we’re on that “other side” for someone else. How do we want to be considered? How do we want to be treated? Would we like others to truly listen to us with some respect, even if the other person doesn’t end up changing his or her mind and agreeing with us?
Maybe it’s not so much about the agreement on the outcome as the agreement to pursue the process. We might doubt an idea without much of a cost, but how expensive is it to dismiss someone, refusing graciousness?