The Catholic Church is always teaching this because it best reflects Christ and leads to peace and better understanding than simply assuming your interlocutor or whoever is acting purposefully to make your life a living hell, things worse, whatever.
Well, I didn't find the exact words, "assume good will." However, I did find the following Scripture quotes:
“This is the one I esteem: He who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My Word.” Isaiah 66:2
“Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” 1 Corinthians 10:24
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Romans 12:3
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3:13Watching the news this morning on Fox News, I see little evidence of this assuming good will always. For his stating what is evident to me, that we can't see Egypt as either an ally or enemy at this point since we don't know exactly happened in Cairo or how, the President -- of whom I'm no fan -- was accused of being vascilating, of not having a clear plan, and of this being more proof of his poor leadership, etc.
I agree he vascilates, plays Hamlet, doesn't have a clear plan, shows poor leadership, and all the rest. But until we see otherwise, let's assume good will on his part right now.
Then there was objective proof that reporters colluded during the Romney press conference to try and get a "gotcha!" moment out of him for injecting politics into situation in a way no candidate ever has. Peggy Noonan herself took exception with this. I agree with her.
Furthermore, having been a GOP campaign operative who posed as a news reporter during a McCain campaign speech in the 2000 election when I worked as a volunteer for the George W. Bush campaign, what the reporters did doesn't perturb me at all.
I was furiously taking notes on everything Sen. McCain said, and Dan Walters a moderate (and suspected GOP) columnist for the Sacramento Bee leaned over and helpfully offered to let me copy down the one thing that all the real reporters there considered to be the "money" quote. I thanked him but demured. I had been given the task by my former boss on the Herschensohn campaign to see what he said about X issue, and getting that statement was my focus. The money quote all the other reporters wanted had nothing to do with that.
Yet the collusion between reporters at yesterday's Romney presser was supposedly proof of the mainstream media/MSM's bias against him, of their being "in the bag for Obama," etc. Maybe. Maybe, however, as liberal and former NPR reporter Juan Williams said this morning on Fox, reporters simply want to make sure they get their tough questions answered.
For instance, if you're a reporter imbedded with a campaign, you're less concerned with getting a scoop than you are with struggling to get an interesting take out of the same old story, which plays itself out day after day after grueling, boring day until that first Tuesday in November.
It goes like this: Candidate makes campaign stop designed to make him/her look absolutely perfect. Candidate makes stump, canned statement that often says nothing different than what he/she said yesterday and every day for the past however many months.
Yet, you have a legitimate question about that candidate's statements/positions. Other reporters have the same question(s). Candidate ducks question to get out his/her yet-again-regurgitated five-point plan on how to improve XYZ issue. However, this doesn't serve their primary duty, which is to help their employer sell papers, get more viewers or listeners, etc. So they coordinate to make sure that the candidate doesn't get a free pass, that he/she doesn't fly under the radar unscathed, that he/she has to somehow answer the question or look really foolish/slimy for not doing so.
Presented with this perfectly viable perspective, the show's hosts this would hear nothing of it. Nor would several of their guests. "It's proof the MSM's bias! Rahhhrrrrrr!!!!! Foam at the mouth! Fulminate! Contribute nothing to a rational discourse! Denigrate! Assume ill will!"
No. As Christians, in charity, we need to assume good will. The Catholic Church is unflinching in her insistence on this, because you don't know someone's mind. You don't know their hearts.
If we are serious about changing the tone in this nation's body politic -- and I pray we are -- we cannot do it without being charitable and assuming good will always. If we have proof there is ill will, that's another thing. But it's a pretty high standard to get that level of proof.
What do you think? USA? India? China? North Korea? Russia? India? Germany? UK? Weigh in. Empty com boxes are such a drag.